The Oxford English Dictionary defines a leader as one who guides others in action or opinion. Leadership is a strong quality that allows a person to have an influence over the thoughts and actions of others. When a group is being oppressed, it is a great leader who would be able to stand up for those people. Leaders have been seen throughout history, through government systems, revolutions and other movements. During the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King chose to take that role to solve the unjust oppression that was occurring. King possessed the characteristics of a great leader; believing in equality, non-violent civil disobedience and a strong call to action. Through these, King was able to be a successful leader to the oppressed and had a strong influence across the world.
The drive of the Civil Rights Movement was the segregation and prejudice that minorities faced. King writes “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” expressing his desire to end the injustice being caused by racism and prejudice. During this time, authority figures and leaders supported segregation and unfair treatment of minorities. Jean-Jacques Rousseau states that everyone person is “born free, their liberty belongs to them, and no one but themselves has a right to dispose of it”(63). King fights for this idea, the idea that these minorities should not feel oppressed, inferior, or prejudiced. King writes about personal experiences as a way to describe the effects of unjust racism. He describes the feelings of inferiority that his daughters form from segregation. King is able to have such a strong influence and be a great leader because he is driven by the idea of equality for all.
King makes the statement that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”(218). King was put in jail for marching without a permit. The reasoning behind it was that the law was used as a way to suppress the influence of minorities. Peacefully asking for equal rights without any acts of civil...
Cited: Jacobus, Lee A. ed A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. Boston:
Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. Print.
Rousseau, Jean-Jaques. “The Origin of Civil Society.” Jacobus 58-74. Print.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” Jacobus 177-197. Print.
“Leader” The Oxford English Dictionary. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press.
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