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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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