Famous Thinkers

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cornel West Pages: 5 (1546 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Famous Thinkers
Tosha Morales
August 1, 2011
Ed Rudd

Famous Thinkers
This paper consists of a comparison of two famous thinkers. Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known for being an symbolic individual in the improvement of civil rights in the United States and around the world. King is often shown as a courageous guide in the history of present American free-thinking (Clayborne). Second is Cornel West, who is known as an important and stimulating democratic scholar. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud (Biography.com). Contribution:

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the world’s best known activists of non-violent social change tactics. He combined ideas drawn from many different cultural traditions. King was rendered as the pre-eminent black speaker and civil rights activist. Due to his excellent debating skills and personal courage he achieved national fame. King also helped fund the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) where he stressed the goal of black voting rights (Clayborne).

Cornel West is an American Philosopher, a scholar of African American studies and a political activist. West’s work is typically wide-ranging, diverse, original and preemptive. He wrote several books that analyze issues of race, class and justice, tracing the history of social democracy, a Christian moral sensibility, and a philosophical orientation informed by the tradition of American practicality. West has participated in demonstrations, lent his name or even his presence to causes he feels are just (Biography.com). Environment:

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His origins were in the African-American Baptist church. His grandfather was a pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a creator of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, and his father followed his grandfather as Ebenezer’s pastor and also became a civil rights leader. Although, from an early age, King questioned literal readings of scripture, he still deeply admired black social gospel supporters such as his father who saw the church as a tool for advancing the lives of African Americans. Morehouse College president Benjamin Mays and other followers of Christian social involvement influenced King's decision after his junior year at Morehouse to become a minister and thus serve society. His continued suspicion, however, shaped his following theological studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and at Boston University, where he obtained a doctorate in systematic theology in 1955. Declining offers for academic jobs, King decided while completing his Ph. D. requisites to return to the South and accepted the pastorate of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (Clayborne).

Cornel West was born on June 2, 1953 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. West’s father was a civilian U.S. Air Force commissioner and his mother was a school teacher and ultimately a principal. Throughout West's childhood, the family lived in an African American working-class community in Sacramento, California. There West often went to church at the local Baptist church, where he listened to moving declarations of poverty, fight, and faith from congregations whose grandparents had been slaves. Another inspiration on West during this time was the Black Panther Party, whose Sacramento headquarters were near the church he attended. The Panthers daunted upon him the significance of political involvement at the local level and familiarized him to the writings of Karl Marx (Biography.com).

Problems they sought to solve:
Martin Luther King was trying to solve the racial equality problem. In the 1950’s, the egalitarianism of man intended by the Declaration of Independence was far from existence. People of all colors were shown prejudice against in many ways. The 1950’s were a unsettled time in America, when racial obstacles began to come down due...

Bibliography: Cornel West. (2011). Biography.com. Retrieved 03:08, Jul 31 2011 from http://www.biography.com/articles/Cornel-West-9528216
Dr. Cornel West Biography. (2005, January 13). Retrieved July 31, 2011, from peralta: http://www.peralta.cc.ca.us/laney/laney-opacs/Cornel%20West%20Biography.htm
Clayborne, C. (n.d.). Biography of Martin Luther King Jr. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from Martin Luther King Online: http://www.mlkonline.net/bio.html
Hedges, C. (2011, May 16). The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from truthdig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_obama_deception_why_cornel_west_went_ballistic_20110516/
Mount, S. (n.d.). The I Have a Dream Speech. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from The US Constitution Online: http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html
The Poverty Tour. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2011, from The Poverty Tour: http://www.povertytour.smileyandwest.com/
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