Martin Luther King, Obama, and Douglass

Topics: United States, African American, Barack Obama Pages: 5 (1797 words) Published: April 22, 2012
Great Leaders of the past, present, and the future
Countless have said that all men were created equal, but what about the prodigious black men of all time. Were King, Douglass, and Obama all created equal, or were these men chosen to be predestined for greatness? What constitutes "greatness" in politics? Names that come readily to mind, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Barack Obama, are those who rose to inspire their countries in times of turmoil and change; so it seems that circumstances are just as important as character. Their personal characteristics, and even morals, differed widely -- but they were able to anticipate and articulate their nations' needs and aspirations. One thing King, Douglass, and Obama, all three were involved with civil rights’ of all who were oppressed. These three men helped show America that a change was in order for all to feel free and all were created equal. Each of these three men became American Icons in many ways, such as King, Obama, and Douglass had prodigious speaking skills, leadership expertise, and opinionated dispositions.

Obama, Douglass and King are revered in the sense that they led a major change in American History. Through their speeches and movements to the world, Obama, Douglass, and King, have directed a movement of change and optimism through the heart and soul of America. Walling 2

All three men are eloquent speakers, such as Frederick Douglass was not only a powerful speaker but a master of subtleties of the talent. Those who heard him were surprised at the sharpness of his mind, his self-confidence and ease on the podium, noting especially his skill at humor, imitation, and sarcasm. Such was his skill as a speaker that audiences began to doubt his credibility. Martin Luther King Jr.’s public-speaking abilities, would become well-known as his importance grew in the Civil Rights Movement, developed slowly during his educational years, however, professors praised King for the powerful impression he made in public speeches. Barack Obama has awed the American people from the moment he ran for presidency. Many have written reviews about this great man such as “Last night our president delivered his first official state of the union address: he was brilliant. Years from now speech instructors will be playing tapes of his speeches for their students; in fact; it’s probably happening already on many college campuses. Years from now books will be written compiling many of his speeches; some given even before he became one of the most historic of all our presidents. From here on in Barack Obama will be the standard by which great speakers are measured. He is undoubtedly one of the best public speakers ever” (Hackshaw).

All great speakers share a common trait: They learned to be great by studying those that went before them. Although people are enamored by the oratory skills of public figures from time to time, none was born with the ability to persuade or inspire. Speeches can be prepared for anyone, but it takes a person to be groomed or determined to succeed in those beliefs to make a person a great speaker. The inspirational voices came from wanting to make a change in history, the aspirations of each of the men, whether it was slavery abolishment, segregation, or economic decline. These great men made history in one way or another. Walling 3

Great leaders such as Douglass, King, and Obama, do not sugar coat reality, they engage the heart, refuse to accept the status quo, and create a sense of urgency. In fact, many would say that this is the defining characteristic of real leaders. Douglass was considered one the great leaders of his time, not only did he campaign for the abolishment of slavery, he later began campaigning for women’s rights. Douglass was leading and gifted in the anti-slavery movement. Born a slave, Douglass managed to educate himself, grasp the ideologies that allowed slavery to succeed in America, identified the way to free...
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