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During the late sixties, isolation and separation were seen around the world, a portion of these developments comprised of people wanting to make a change. For example, the American activists Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, and Rosa Parks, who experienced numerous challenges in accomplishing their objective however in the long run moved past them. An individual has the ability to change the society.
During the 1950s and 1960s Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the biggest advocates for African Americans. MLK fought for basic civil rights for African Americans. In comparison to BLM, Martin Luther King’s wise speaking towards achieving civil rights for African Americans is very similar to BLM’s protests. The Black Lives Matter Movement also confronts some of the same issues that previous black liberation movements addressed: that, black people are seen as criminals, and black bodies are expendable. Both movements have been opposed to racism and systemic oppression. Many see BLM as the new civil rights movement. That movement, from 1954 to 1965, demanded basic equality for African Americans. Black Lives Matter has focused on police abuse of African Americans. To that end, it is instructive to examine the similarities and differences between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
US Civil Rights for African Americans have changed radically since the 1960’s. For hundreds of years, the human rights for African Americans were abused. Although slavery was abolished, segregation between the white and black was still present. African Americans were to be separated from the whites on public transport. Rosa Parks, an American activist, refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, resulting in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. One year later, the boycott ended, stopping segregation of black and white passengers on bus services, encouraging many other efforts to end segregation in America. A group of activists known as Freedom Riders, wanted to test the US Supreme Court’s decision on ending segregation on public transport. The group boarded public buses to southern US states, their strategy being to sit next to each other, black and white, with one black passenger sitting in the front section that was previously reserved for whites. Ignoring segregation signs, their journeys were interrupted by many mob attacks and arrests. The racist violence was one of the reasons many other freedom riders joined the campaign. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr, delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington. In his speech, Martin Luther King addressed, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” He wanted equality between the white and black, hoping that one day the black community would not have to suffer prejudice because of the colour of their skin. The speech was revolutionary, gaining attention by millions. The many events and attempts for equality finally payed off. On the 2 July 1964, the US Congress enacted the ‘Civil Rights Act’, outlawing prejudice based on race or gender.
The tactic Dr. Martin Luther King used was speeches to influence people about how wrong discrimination and segregation were. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech states, “Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children”. This quote represents how King wants to encourage the people to join him and change the world by getting rid of segregation.
Robert F. Kennedy wanted to unite the people and end-all of the fighting between skin colors. In “A Eulogy for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he states, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black”. Robert F. Kennedy wanted to continue what Dr. Martin Luther King started because he believed that segregation should come to an end.
To conclude, all three have made a huge difference in the world to make it how it is today. Martin Luther King’s speech pushed people to come together and unite, no matter what color skin they had. Robert F. Kennedy’s speech showed that just because King passed didn’t mean that his dream went with him. Rosa Parks’s boycott proved that an individual can make a huge change. This shows that if they put their mind to an individual has the power to change society.
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