I wrote an essay evaluting the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King.
|Would He Be Proud?
Forty-five years ago Dr. Martin Luther King gave his historical "I have a dream" speech. He spoke in front of what became known as the largest peaceful protest in the history of the United States. During his speech he spoke of what his ideal America would be like. He spoke of complete abolishment of segregation, equal opportunity, and that all races would live in harmony. With these hopes the march on Washington was a success and the movement pressed on. Sadly King never got to see the finished product of the movement that he invested the prime of his life into as James Earl Ray assassinated him on April 14, 1968. This really took the wind out of the movement's sails. There were some protests and rallies after his death, but in many historians' eyes the civil rights movement died with Dr. Martin Luther King.
Now today have we honored King's sacrifice? He and many others risked their lives for equal opportunity, a right that should have been theirs under the laws of the U.S. constitution. I personally believe that the world would not be the way it is today without King's accomplishments. His actions helped African Americans gain the rights they have today. Not saying that there is no racism today. I'm sure people would agree that racism exists in your community even today. However, I feel that many of King's "dreams" have come to be true today.
Today African Americans have rights that are totally from King's actions. For example, today an African American can register and vote without the fear of receiving hostility from whites in the community. Also, there are many African Americans in the higher salary jobs then pre-Martin Luther King. Through King's planning and carrying out protests African Americans gained equality that they may have never had without Dr. Martin Luther King.
In contrast there are still things today that African Americans endure that are not all morally correct. For example, in lower economic class neighborhoods still tend to have more black residents in nature. These neighborhoods generally have a higher crime and high school drop out rate. Some make a case that whites are trying to keep down the blacks and that the conditions in this neighborhood with never improve. However, Bill Cosby gave a speech at a NAACP meeting that really shocked me. He puts the blame of the black neighborhood conditions on the blacks and more precisely the parents. He feels that the reason the neighborhoods do not improve is because the parents do not prepare their kids to succeed in the world. Anyway, African Americans are still fighting some of the same battles they fought in the civil rights movement, but things have greatly improved.
To make sure that "the dream" lives on as the generation that fought the civil rights movement is beginning to fade away is that we must educate young people. Racial discrimination is learned through watching and listening to others actions. If we can instill the idea that all people are created equal and make aware the conditions that African Americans use to live in known. Then I feel that the races of future generations will only unite more as time goes on.