A Student’s Perspective: MLK’s words & actions inspired my generation
BY JADE J. AUGUST
WEST ST. JOHN HIGH SCHOOL
We are taught about Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. He imagined a world where children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights movement that focused on nonviolent protest. No matter how many times he was attacked in public, or how often his home was bombed, Dr. King was firm on nonviolence. So, how did Dr. King‘s vision change the world? He changed the lives of all Black Americans in his time and ours.
Dr. King believed all men are created equal and should enjoy the same rights and privileges. One of his most popular lines from his famous “I Have a Dream“ speech was that he hoped his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. His goal was to turn people‘s minds so they‘d come to the same understanding. He implanted the notion of nonviolent protests into his followers’ hearts and minds. After his home was bombed in 1956, what did he do? He and his members prayed for their wrongdoers in church pews.
Dr. Martin Luther King was in several of the civil rights movements of the 1950s and ’60s. His nonviolent approach was exactly what the United States government needed. It‘s because of Dr. Martin Luther King and the efforts of his supporters that America came to understand the power of nonviolent protest. Dr. King was largely responsible for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 The Civil Rights Act banned discrimination in the workforce and public accommodations based on “race, color, religion, or national origin.” The Voting Rights Act protects African Americans‘ right to vote. He also played a major part in thepassage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This prevents people from banning black people from any sort of housing, be it a rental or a sale.
Even until the day he died, Dr. King never allowed fear to win. He unified people under a common goal. Today, you won‘t find Black people and white people forced to sit in separate sections on a bus or drink from separate water fountains in a public space. Segregation in America has been abolished in an official manner, although we still see discrimination in other ways. Certain inner cities continue to struggle with violence and a need for equal pay and equal opportunity. If Dr. King were alive, he‘d be rallying in every city that faced inequality and injustice. At the same time, in 2008, America elected its first African American president to office. Former President Barack Obama is a man born of a white, American woman and a Kenyan father. That‘s something Dr. King would be very proud of. His name is still spoken with pride, and his legacy of nonviolence has proven that the race war can be settled through nonviolent protest and a common attempt for a peaceful world.