Martin Luther King Jr was a well known civil rights leader in the 1960’s. He inspired many African Americans with his speeches and his non-violent movement. He had vision, courage and concern three out of the six characteristics mention by Campbell (2002) that create a leader. Even though he was well know for stopping segregation it is important to study his effective leadership.
Many High School students have studied about Martin Luther King Jr. However, there is much more to King. We need to study his courage to step up and create sit-ins and protest, concern for others right and vision to tie all these in and make them possible. In addition, we need to look into these characteristics that made him a strong catalyst for change.
It is the purpose of this paper to discuss the findings about the leadership and characteristics of Martin Luther King Jr. Also adding to how this leader improved the reading and writing skills to this papers author.
The questions posed for the research described here are the following:
1. What important findings were made during this research?
a. Why was he concerned about the rights they had?
b. How did sit-ins and boycotts help King?
c. What did it take to accomplish his goal?
2. Which of the leaders personal characteristics seem to be most important for his success as a catalyst for change? 3. What did the author of this paper learn about him/herself as the research, reading and writing for this assignment progress? 4. What conclusion can be drawn from this research?
Findings about the Leader
Martin Luther King Jr most important accomplishment was concerned about the civil rights that black people had King tried to protect the freedom of
discrimination based on “gender, religion, race, national origin, age or sexual orientation.” (History Alive ch. 46) King wanted to give African Americans their rights to freedom of speech. he saw to gain equality through the world. also King wanted to stop the discrimination that was mostly based on race. this would stop the segregation that was going on and open the doors of opportunity and a better community. Much of Kings work was controversial during the time in which he lived. People opposed King because he encouraged sit-ins and boycotts. In one of the many sit-ins four college students sat in white people spots and refused to move because they were not getting served. The students dressed like they were going to church and the sit-in lasted for almost two weeks. Many white people fought the black people and the black people were arrested.
They were able to get bailed for fifty dollars or do the thirty-three days in jail. Then the marches started and one girl marched up to the mayor and she said that it was unfair. Three weeks later black people got served.(History Alive.p 69) In the Montgomery Bus Boycotts was organized because of the segregated buses. The boycott lasted 328 days with no one riding the bus. Martin Luther King Jr lead the black people in this boycott. In 1955 black people had to sit in the back of the bus and white people sat in the front, sometimes black people had to give up their seats.
Black boycott leaders got attacked by white people. Some of which got their homes bombed. Even though they were attacked they stuck to their non-violent system. eleven months later the segregation was considered unconstitutional. King said that, “it wasn’t a victory for them or whites, but justice and good will.” (History Alive. p 69) Kings ideas were important for the time in which he lived. People opposed King because they knew he would accomplish his goals. It took a lot of Kings time to accomplish desegregation and equality, but he was able to accomplish all the sit-ins, boycotts and marches with the help and support from his family, church and his followers who wanted the justice that King wanted to achieve.
The Leader’s Personal Characteristics
The three personal characteristics that, according to Campbell are necessary to become a strong exceptional leader are vision, concern and courage. These three characteristics best describe Martin Luther King Jr. King’s vision was shown through his speeches, sit-ins and boycotts. King wanted the future of his people and the future generation of young African Americans to be better and equal. He wanted to put a stop to the segregation and the discrimination that was going on through this time period. King knew that his vision would come true when these problems would come to an end. King wasn’t concern for himself only. He was concern for the entire African American community. King tried to prevent the hate that was being shown by the white people towards the black people to stop.
Once this stopped King knew that the children growing up in this time period wouldn’t grow up with the same hatred shown by their parents. He wanted to put a stop to all of it so it wouldn’t spread to the young minds of the children as well as in the parents. This was all accomplished by King through his courage. He went through many risks. King not only put his life in danger, but the life of his family and his followers. The sit-ins, boycotts and marches brought hate and violence to King and his followers as well.
There were times that they experienced mob attacks and bombings on their own home. All of which put King in danger for following and making justice happen. Fighting for every ones rights using non-violent movement was difficult, but courageous. King using this type of movement was significant and brave because he didn’t fight back when they would get attack and going out with this movement in mind against all those people that apposed King showed his true leadership skills.
Learning about Myself as a Reader and Writer
This experience has made me a better reader because it helped me improve my note taking and helped me focus on a certain topic. My note taking has become more in depth and I’m able to pull out the important part or parts of the articles were are reading. Having focused notes also helped me stay focus on this topic. I learned how to focus on a specific topic for each paragraph in my essay.
Writing was a difficult part for me because I didn’t know exactly what I had to write about sometimes, or I wouldn’t have a clear sense of direction, or explanation to what I was, or had to do. This caused me a lot of confusion, so that leads into why I didn’t do so well in my papers. It was the little assignments we got that confused me the most because I didn’t find a connection from the little assignments to the bigger one. Also because we mixed how to write the paper along with finding facts and integrating sources. It would have been more helpful if we had spilt that into two different sections and having one section to do with MLK, finding the facts and integrating sources as one section and how to write the paper as another.
The things I need to work on the most are writing and making connections with the assignments provided. Due to the fact that, that was my point of confusion during the assignment. Also it was writing that I scored the lowest in and this shows that I didn’t become a better writer throughout the course of this assignment
Where are we in racial equality today? what would Martin Luther King Jr think or do? Today were are not as bad in racial equality as in the time of Martin Luther King Jr, but we do experience racial hate and judgement today, mostly against Hispanics. If King was alive today, his reaction would probably be the same as when he experienced the discrimination against African Americans. He probably wouldn’t like the way people are being treated and would feel the same type of tension he did when he was a catalyst for change in the 1900’s. King would try to find away to help and also make this stop by using the same method, such as non-violent movement. King would have to change his way of solving this to get the same success he had if he tried to be a catalyst for change during this era because of the different time periods
Campbell, Scott. “Great Leaders Grow Deep Roots The Six Characteristics of Expectional Leaders.” . N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan 2012. .
King, M.. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” “letter from a birmingham jail”. University of Pennsylvania, 1963. Web. 8 Dec 2011.
Carson, Clayborne, et. al. of the Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute. The Martin Luther King, Jr. encyclopedia. Greenwood Press: Westport, Connecticut. 2008.
Goff, Brent. History Alive!: Pursuing American Ideals. Teachers Curriculum Inst, 2008. Web. .