Among the 39 years of his lifespan, 13 years were devoted to direct and open struggle for social justice for all people in America notwithstanding their skin color. Martin Luther King, Jr. has become a symbol of the successful social struggle embodied in non-violent resistance. Without harm to any person but with love to the entire world, this ambitious man of strong will and spirit has inspired millions of oppressed individuals to protest against inequity, strive for equality, and gain their right to live rather than exist. Undoubtedly, this influence is for ages, though the pastor of civil rights is deceased for almost 5 decades. Even the most up-to-date reflection on life and legacy of the civil rights activist by Peter J. Ling, Martin Luther King, Jr., clearly demonstrates an inevitable truth. Namely, his contribution to leading the change in American and global mindset on racial segregation and discrimination is enormous and life-long. To be more precise, his specific thinking approach to paving the way towards spiritual and physical freedom is a well-thought-out and thoroughly reasoned strategy that allows concise and conscious understanding of the problem. Thus, when the task was set to write an essay about a personality who is worth admiration as a prominent critical thinker, I believe that I had no other options as to focus on King as a king in the sphere.
Foremost, it is necessary to note that the core of his life philosophy has been the synthesis of best ideas of all times as a way to meet the practical needs of his contemporaries. As aptly emphasized in Ling’s monograph, the analyzed African American leader has managed to combine skillfully “the Christian doctrine of love” and “the Gandhian method of nonviolence” and use their multiplied strength as “one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.” Being brought up within the context of overwhelming racial segregation but in light of strong Baptist religious ideology, King was able to nurture his sincere faith-centered stance. Apart from the family-based experiences, the thinker had an opportunity to delve into the depth of knowledge on the verge of philosophy and theology. He not only realized but felt from his personal experience that the world was overly cruel despite the promoted liberties for all society members. Such a contrast was especially evident with relation to the dominant white majority with relation to the black minority. This theory-to-practice comparison and critical analysis of the urgent necessity for a change in society enticed him to reshape all previous beliefs and tools for the struggle. Hence, the aforementioned multiplied factors were the centerpiece of his innovative worldview. Instead of responding aggression to aggression, the new guide to betterment of humane side of society chose to cure the latter through love and non-harmfulness, and succeeded.
Another key lesson one can learn from King’s experience is his unwavering faith in both God and peaceful aspirations for all-embracing equality. Regardless of that the skeptics can, probably, call his approach towards an acute problem’s resolution a rather idealistic venture, the fact that his non-violent resistance was effective proves the opposite. This individual, who earned a PhD degree in 25 years of age, synthesized the wisdom he gained from learning and personal experience into simple but holistic underpinning of reachable equality for all. First, he recognized triple evils which undermined the quality of people’s existence, such as racism, poverty, and militarism. Second, King adhered to the 6 principles of non-violence in order to resist those triple evils since only in this case, “universe is on the side of justice”. Third, the way to reshaping the societal dogmas and elimination of the problem is based on 6 nonviolent steps, including gathering the information, education, individual commitment, negotiation, direct action, and reconciliation. Undoubtedly, the strength of King’s belief in success of his visionary willingness to transform the stereotyped white social and economical dominance has become the primary driving force for this goal’s achievement. Moreover, the subsequent transition of his thoughts from the stages of arguing and persuading to acting is the vivid illustration of feasibility and consistency of his ideas and their in-practice realization. Thus, thinker’s orientation on practice and mandatory theory-to-practice bridging were additional strong sides of the discussed personality.
What is more, another distinct trait of King’s individuality was his permanent evolution as a thinker with constant broadening of the scope of his societal influence in light of his achievements as a civic activist leader. At the beginning of his path of promoting a change, he simply stood in front of the protesters he was chosen to lead and claimed, “I have a dream…”. Revealing his inner hopes and aspirations, the priest reached the hearts of his audience who suffered from the same disease of three evils. All the next steps that King undertook were in holistic consistency with his initial views and attitudes. This feature once again emphasizes a righteous position of this African American and his way of thinking. Starting from Montgomery Bus Boycott, to Birmingham Campaign and 200,000-people march in Washington, the President of the African American Civil Rights Movement followed the single direction in fulfilling his and his people’s dream. Even the imprisonment did not break his will and inner power. On the contrary, the new and new challenges and encountered difficulties only strengthened his belief in a need for a social change and further following the outlined course of action through non-violence. In contrast to the growing aggression from the governmental agencies, King inspired his followers to stay calm and love their enemies. As a result, they surrendered. The Civil Rights Act was signed as an embodiment of the accomplished dream-goal. This brief sequence of events shows the multiplied strength of King’s faith in his rightness and his clear and simultaneously evolving vision of his nation’s future. These intertwined flexibility and firmness have become the main winning points in overcoming the external pressures and reaching his final objectives. It follows that King preferred do not dream his vision of renewed and actually free America but make his dream come true whereas it was a dream of millions of the people of the same skin color. Hence, all the factors considered can be a feasible pattern for development of change-making strategies based on the successful outcomes of the ventures discussed in the paper.
To summarize, the genius of Martin Luther King, Jr. has played a great role in eradication of the official racial segregation in America. The civil rights activist had a specified approach towards thinking over this societal vice. Foremost, correlation and comparison of the theoretical knowledge and real-life evidence has been an initial stage of his personality growth as both thinker and reformist. The results of such considerations have provided a holistic background for the future active strategic initiatives. Next, King clarified the needs of the target audience and traced the opportunities which previous philosophers could propose to find a reasonable solution. Moreover, the forward-looking African American opted to choose the principle of non-violence to struggle for equality. Finally, his sincere belief in righteousness of his activities along with consistency in words and actions have become one more key to productive thinking and well-reasoned acting from which any person can learn.