Since the creation of the United States of America, the topic of race has been a predominant issue. When you go to the bathroom, a restaurant, or even get a drink from the water fountain, there is not a sign that says “Whites only” or “Colored” on it. If these events still happen today, riots, killings, lawsuits, strike and every other form of civil unrests are imaginable. It would be a nightmare and a disaster for most of us.The Civil Rights Movement was a span of time when the African Americans endeavor was to acquire their constitutional rights of which they were being deprived. A commendable bearing of that movement was the unachievable triumph that the blacks sought after and built. Its leaders were extremists and used their influence to provoke the American people to abolish segregation among all races.
To start with, Rosa Parks also known as “the mother of the civil rights movement”, revitalized the struggle of racial equality when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. She was inspired by Claudette Colvin to be one of the extremist and to take action in order to make change. Over the years, she had repeatedly disobeyed bus segregation regulations. She was arrested, fingerprinted, and incarcerated. When Parks agreed to have her case contested, it became a cause célèbre in the fight against Jim Crow laws. Her trial for this act of civil disobedience triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history, and launched Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the organizers of the boycott, to the forefront of the civil rights movement that fostered peaceful protests to Jim Crow laws. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in” (Parks ).
Parks’s act of courage in Montgomery, Alabama sparked the push to look squarely at the discrimination victimizing Alabama’s black people, and to end segregation. She took the risk and got arrested to earn freedom for the young. She did not bother to care if others disapproved her as long as she was able to teach world the right and wrong. “Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome” (Parks). Her belief on freedom motivated others to look back and actually see the outside world of what is going on. Nevertheless, her refusal to give up her seat to a white man also created a legacy she never could have foreseen. Extremists like Rosa Parks can contribute to political revolution in defence of black lives nationally and around the world.
Furthermore, Martin Luther King Jr. inspired many people through his words and actions. King was a great Civil Rights leader who gave his life in the name of freedom. He was a social activist who stood up for the American dream. He practiced everything that he preached, he did not preach or speak values that he himself did not follow.
However, he was arrested when he and others were protesting for racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. As he sat in the jail, he wrote the “Letter from Birmingham”. It was written in the margins of a letter posted by the clergymen of Alabama, at this time that sparked his interest and while he inhabited the jail cell for parading around without a permit. This time allowed him the ability to respond to this cynical oppressing. In the letter “Letter from Birmingham”, king repeats the word “extremists”. This is in response to being called an extremists and he does and excellent job turning it around in his favor. “ Will we be extremist for hate or for love? Will be be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” (King 31).
The repetition of the word “extremist” potentially diminishes the negative connotation associated with being an extremists. For example, he called Jesus an extremist and by doing so king made it seem that everyone went to their extremes to fight for their goal. By doing this he also pointed out that the highest authority in terms of men was an extremist which gave him a certain amount of respect.
He persuaded the audience to trust and respect him for the American dream. ” My fellow clergymen ” (King 3). He appears to ethos by having his audience understand him in his role as a religious leader. His image as a religious figure tends to be seen as trustworthy,moral, and believable. In addition, King references teachings from renowned Greek philosophers such as Socrates, further establishing his credibility to morals and common sense. He addressed his audience with by treating them as equals in status and stature. It is also significant due to the fact that King was in the jail at the time he wrote his letter.
In addition, Robert F.Kennedy was able to calm the crowd with his power of words when addressing a distressed audience about Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Kennedy was a presidential candidate and recognized for his speech announcing Martin Luther King Jr.’s death titled the Kennedy Remarks. He fought for racial equality and provided critical help in passing the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The fears of riots and concerns for his safety, Kennedy went ahead with plans to attend a rally at 17th and Broadway in the heart of Indianapolis’s African-American ghetto. Instead of the rousing campaign speech that everyone had expected, Kennedy offered brief, impassioned remarks for peace that are considered to be one of the great public addresses of the modern era.
“I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times” (Kennedy). Kennedy relates to the crowd’s greif of King’s death by mentioning one of his family member’s death. He wanted America to realize that it is not for them to lash out in violence and hatred, but to try, love and understand. “We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future” (Kennedy). Kennedy wanted to point out that we are together as a nation. That we need to solve and fight together when there is a conflict. Kennedy performed his speech in a very dangerous situation where anything could have happened to him which tells us that he went extreme to fight for the American dream, for the freedom.