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African American Leaders Essay, Research Paper
“GRACE UNDER PRESSURE”
In the nineteen sixties there was an uproar of African
American leaders. This was known as the civil rights movement.
There were many leaders in this movement that have forever
changed the society that we live in today. They spoke out
against the suppression of the African American. This was
known as the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks stood up to the
white owners of the bus transportation system. Even though she
said “I was just plane tired, and my feet hurt”, it was a major
break through for African Americans. After the incident Mrs.
Parks was quiet, but the events that sparked later are what made
this event so spectacular. Martin Luther King spoke peaceful
non-violent speeches. He also rallied boycotts, sit ins, and
public marches. X, as in Malcolm X, was also a leader in the civil
rights movement. He was an ordinary African American man
until he went to jail. In jail he meet a man that taught him a lot
about the world and turned him to Muhammad, a religious
leader. When he got out of jail, he became very active in the
civil rights movement. Malcolm was the complete opposite of
Martian Luther King. Malcolm spoke about action. He made it
sound like rallies were not enough. They needed to take more
drastic measures if they were going to make a difference. All of
these people made a difference in our world. They stood their
ground for what they believed to be right. They didn’t let
criticism and pressure stop them. They kept going.
Rosa Park was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. She worked as a
seamstress and always took the bus home. Parks was a regular
woman. On December 1, 1955, her life was changed dramatically.
She was asked by the bus driver to give up her seat to a white
man. She refused to give up her seat, this had never happened
before. Jim Crow Laws segregated African Americans from
Caucasians. Her refusal to give up her seat started the Civil
Rights Movement. Parks is considered the mother of the Civil
Rights Movement. She went to jail for what she believed in and
she kept calm and didn’t show any fear. After that, the word
spread about her courageous act and other African American
leaders came to her aid and the aid of African Americans. King
rallied events and started a boycott of the bus system. Since that
fateful day, Mrs. Parks has been honored with many awards.
She has earned the respect of many people and earned the title
of The Mother of Civil Rights.
In 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta,
Georgia. His father was a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In
1954, King became a preacher himself. In that same year, he
experienced his first boycott. The boycott was against the buses
of Montgomery, Alabama. After the boycott, which lasted 381
days, he finally won. They gave in. In 1960, he left Alabama to
preach at his fathers church. There, he dedicated most of his
time to finding and learning the meaning of the American
Dream. King believed in the dream of the Puritans. Their dream
was “Hope for the kingdom of God and the Founding Fathers.”
In 1966, he began a “People to People” tour. He asked and
encouraged African Americans to vote for the first African
American to hold office in Atlanta. He also spoke out against
the war in Vietnam. He said it diverted the attention of racial
and economic problems at home. In 1967, he and other leaders
began to make plans for a massive march in Washington,DC.
The reason for the march was to make the government pay
attention to them and their problems. King saw that the nation
was not willing to confront the problem of racism and
inequality. Kings speech, “I have a Dream”, was his most famous
speech. He said “I have a dream that my two children will not be
judged on there colors of there skin but on there context of
there character.” King was constantly threatened with his life but
he kept going, fighting the good fight, not speaking hate, but
love for those that hated him, and love to those who loved him.
In April 4, 1968 he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Now, 32 years later his dream and his legacy still lives on, not
just in our history books but in us and the way we live are lives.
Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha,
Nebraska. In 1940, he moved to Boston. From 1941 to 1946, he
was a small time hustler in Harlem. He lived on money made
from scams and cons. In 1946, that all would change. He was
arrested for burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. While
he was in prison, he was introduced to Islam. He converted to
the Islam religion, he studied, and educated himself in Islam
beliefs. Instead of going to prison and coming out in the same
mind set, he became something, instead of letting the world get
to him. After getting out of jail, he introduced himself to the
world in a big way. In 1952, he joined the Nation of Islam, and
became a minister. He spoke with such passion, you could tell
that he spoke it from the heart. In 1959, he did a live broadcast
tilted, “The Hate that Produced Hate.” X spoke about making a
difference in the world and that something should be done. He
spoke of more action in hopes of getting a better reaction. A
lot of people liked him, a lot of people hated him. When he was
assassinated, February 21, 1965, everyone missed him.
What if Mrs. Parks had given up her seat and the civil rights
movement never happened? What would the world be like?
We would have missed out on some of the most famous and
out spoken African Americans of our time. Would we still be
narrow-minded and so different from each other? Our two
cultures are still very different, but because of them we are one
step closer to unity. Fortunately, it did happen, and the civil
rights movement was a big success. It was a major break
through for the African American culture. Thanks to the
courage and cultural pride of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King,
and Malcolm X, our society has changed forever.
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