What We Can Learn from Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr has provided many new ways of fighting for what is right in life. Today, many people are still fighting for equality. In a world divided through a race, religion, and political parties, King’s teachings still echo through the 21st century. MLK was influenced by teachings of Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. It shaped him into the man that would change American history.

I believe is an important figure to me. DACA is under attack by the American populace but also holds much support. MLK fought for the equality that blacks deserve and many people now are fighting for DACA to get citizenship in America. History always repeats itself and we can learn what to do from past idols that shook the foundation and changed the course of history itself.

Martin Luther King Sr was a pastor and he disliked the idea of segregation. He felt like he should be equal to everyone. Law enforcement and Ku Klux Klan members would often treat blacks as inferior and would not see them as equals. King Jr seeing his father deal with these issues would fuel the reason why King Jr wanted segregation to end as well. Martin Luther King Jr father, Martin Luther King Sr had a significant influence on Jr. When King Jr began his educational career at Morehouse, he was skeptical of religion helping with segregation. He thought being a lawyer would solve the problem of segregation. Both of his instructors at Morehouse College were ministers and showed him that religion could solve the segregation problem. he also served as his father’s assistant. The idea of religion fascinated him so much, even attended a religious school in Pennsylvania. He came across an essay written by Henry David Thoreau stating “that a man had the right to disobey any law he thought was evil or unjust.” (Scholastic.com/The Life and Words of Martin Luther King Jr). This statement would influence MLK Jr for the rest of his life.

After reading Thoreau essay, he then heard of a man named Gandhi. He was so amazed that Gandhi was able to free India from British rule without using violence. This idea is a huge part of King’s protesting and why it was so effective. Gandhi believed that hatred would lead to deeper violence and King thought this would work for his protest. This ideal would be called pacifism; not to use violence and turn the other cheek. Jesus also taught this idea in the Bible. King Jr learned from Jesus about love. King would use love not hate to spread his influence through America. Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that a commitment to nonviolence required overcoming the “internal violence” of hatred and anger by cultivating love and compassion. (Plato.standford.edu/Pacisfism). This would help people become sympathetic to the ideals that King Jr was spreading through his teachings.

Martin Luther King Jr wrote a book called Stride Toward Freedom, consisted of six principles of nonviolence. These principles became the baseline of his teachings to his followers. Many of the principles show that nonviolence will trump the violence they were facing. Príncipe two: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. (thekingcenter.org) This principle is important because many people started to support him and understand what he was fighting for. He also had six steps of nonviolence social change. These steps include information gathering, education, personal commitment, discussion/negotiation, direct actions, and reconciliation. (Thekingcenter.org). Education is very important to fighting bigotry and arrogance that was surrounding the civil rights era. He was giving information to many supporters and his enemies. He was showing them the truth and the worth his people can provide to America. Direct action was also an important step he followed through his protest and boycotts. These would help fuel his agenda and make it succeed.

Martin Luther King Jr also exercised the idea of civil disobedience, “which is coined by Henry David Thoreau in his 1848 essay”. (plato.standford.edu/civil disobedience) . Civil disobedience is when someone refuses to follow the rules that are in place. America did this against the British during the Boston Tea Party. Rosa Parks helped MLK to start a boycott against the bus system in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks did not follow the rule of moving for white people and did not want to stand in the bus since no more seats were available. King Jr used peaceful protest to spread his message and became successful. Civil disobedience can be interpreted in many ways, some that believe they’re right while others we see them in the wrong. Civil disobedience can change our history such as the moments I mentioned above. Sometimes you must stand up for what you believe in to achieve what you want in life.

With each generation, comes a leader that changes the world for the better or the worst. King Jr is an important character in our history. He shows us that we as humans can get along and fight for what is right. His two inspirations Thoreau and Gandhi also influence our society greatly as well. Martin Luther King is exemplary for the main fact that he got America to see others as equal to each other and no one should be superior to another. He brought communities and people together to fight for a good cause. Many people do not share the same qualities as Martin Luther King Jr and many people do not follow in his footsteps because it is harder to be the good guy than it is the bad guy.

As I stated earlier, Martin Luther King Jr teachings still exist today. The world still treats other races as inferior and unequal. Trump tries to divide the United States through means of hatred. People riot and cause destruction to get their way. Many protesters can learn from MLK Jr and try his method since more people would listen to rationality instead of violent destruction. Many people do not like illegal immigrants and are against DACA but many DACA protesters follow MLK footsteps and proceed with peaceful protest and DACA as copious amounts of support from Americans. DACA can also be looked at the same way the civil rights movement was. Civil rights are fighting for people that are “free and equal citizenship and include personal, political, and economic rights.”(Plato.stanford.edu/Civil Rights). The world does not love like it uses too and uses hated to fuel more division amongst American society. MLK teachings show us that the world needs to fight the separation that our government is causing us.

As you can see, Martin Luther King Jr teachings are in the past because many do not follow his ways anymore. He had principles that state on the best way to conduct peaceful protest and nonviolence methods to make your opponent become sympathetic with your ideas. He dedicated his life to the communities he served with and showed them a better way to deal with an enemy that was full of hatred and arrogance. While Martin Luther King Jr is an important figure to many, he also learned from other important people of our society. Those teachings would go on and influence who he is and make his legend what it is today. Many people need to go back and learn from King Jr, to spread love and enjoy each other’s company.