1.In that ways were the African-American people treated differently from white people in the USA in the 1950s. African-Americans were separated from white people by law and discriminated against by the white people. They were referred to as ‘Negros’, which was an insensitive word to call the African-Americans. White people separated children from African-American families and there were ‘coloured’ seats for African-American on public buses.
2.Explain the significant event that took place – propelling King into leadership of the Civil Rights movement? On December 1, 1955, 42 year-old Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus to go home from a tiring day at work. She sat on the ‘colored’ seats but as several other white passengers boarded, the driver asked them to give up their seats. The other African-Americans reluctantly gave up their seats but Rosa Parks refused and stayed seated. She was arrested for violating the Montgomery City Code and in her trial a week later, she was found guilty, fined $10 and assessed $4 court fee. One the same night as Rosa Parks was arrested, E.D. Nixon met with Martin Luther King Jr. and other local civil right leaders to plan a citywide bus boycott. King was elected to lead because of his three significant traits: his young age, well trained with strong family connections and professional standing. He became the national face of the civil rights movement.
3.What were King’s fundamental beliefs about justice, equality and God? Martin Luther King was born into a Christian home with a preacher father. He went to a Christian college and graduated at 15. He became a minister of a church and married a Christian woman. His strong bonds with God were developed rapidly due to his Christian background in his childhood. His fundamental belief about justice and equality was the unfair and brutal treatment of his people in a modern, white society.
4.How successful was Martin Luther King in putting his beliefs into action? I believe Martin Luther King was very successful in putting his beliefs into action because he was a great leader of the African-Americans and he continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 among several other honors.
Reflection Task (200 words in total) 1. Choose a section of King’s speech ‘I have a dream’ that impacts you most, explain why. ‘With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.’
This section of King’s speech ‘I have a dream’ impacts me the most because Martin Luther King points out how much faith can help people through their difficult times and struggles in life. When he refers to faith, I see it as ‘hope in God’. He believes that hope in God will let them work, pray, struggle, go to jail, stand up for freedom together and know that they will be set free one day.
2. Reflectively respond to King’s life and work using the following questions as a guide: •What are your thoughts and/or feelings about his faith or actions? •How does he impress you? •Are you left with any questions? •What are your thoughts about non-violent protest as a way of bringing about change? •In your life, who inspires you to make change and act on you beliefs?
Martin Luther King was a great leader in my opinion because of the effort he puts into his work. His speeches made inspired me to bring justice to the world and bring equality to all races. His actions made me feel compassion for those who suffered during the time were African-Americans were discriminated. Although the African-Americans and the Americans are more equal and the gap between them has been eliminated, I still feel the need to help others who have been discriminated against.
I was most definitely impressed with how much commitment and his perseverance despite being jailed 20 times, stabbed in the back and home his being bombed. He travelled overseas, made over 250 speeches and wrote dozens of articles. He was the youngest man to win the Prize of Nobel on December 10 1967. Martin Luther King has left me with many questions after his assassination in April 1968. After arriving at the hospital several hours later, he died. If he were alive and I were able to meet him somehow, I would ask him why he chose the position of leadership and chose to lead his people into freedom regardless of the pain and suffering dealt to him? That type of strong commitment confused me and left me speechless but inspired.
I believe a non-violent protest, as a way of bringing about change should be listened to because the people participating in the at protest feel their rights have been violated and are protesting in order to protect their own rights. In my life, the world inspires me to make a change and act upon my beliefs. The quote I stand by in life is SBS channel’s slogan, ‘seven billion stories and counting…’ I believe in this quote because it has guided me to do the right thing in life. It has also taught me that sometimes, I have to be hurt in order to save thousands of lives. Although I can be confused about why I am doing the right thing when I get hurt, I do it for the sake of other’s happiness.
Courtney from Study Moose
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