Martin Luther King Jr.: A Law-Abiding Rebel

(Excerpt from ghostwritten essay Martin Luther King Jr.)

Even though slavery was abolished, this did not mean that they were treated fairly.  AfricanAmericans were discriminated against, and treated horribly, just as my father and I were.  Granted, our story isn’t nearly as bad as others, but the actions are still the same.  During this time frame, several, now well-known, people worked for their rights as humans and Americans.  

Among those people was Martin Luther King Jr.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a very well-known pastor who worked hard to obtain equal rights for all African-Americans.  He traveled many of miles, all around the United States, appearing wherever there was injustice, to protest and create marches, while sharing his vision of the U.S. is supposed to be.  During one of these marches, in Washington D.C. to be specific, King delivered one of his most famous and most effective speeches: “I Have a Dream.” The purpose of this speech was to open the eyes of the people and to obtain justice for all.  Although this speech was delivered over 50 years ago, it’s still very much relevant and effective today. 

Martin, born originally Michael, Luther King Jr., was born on January 15th 1929, and died April 4th 1968.  He attended several segregated schools in Georgia and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen.  He received his B.A. in 1948 from Morehouse College and then his doctorate in 1955 from Boston University.  From 1960 on to his death, was a well-known co-pastor.  King was always a strong worker to obtain civil and equal rights for his race; as a result, he became a member of the executive committee of the Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  King had many goals he hoped to accomplish and among those was to obtain equal rights while not being violent in anyway.  This is noted from this quote from “I Have a Dream,” “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred…. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force” (  This was a well-known fact which resulted in him accepting the leadership of the first Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in US.  King has many other accomplishments and goals under his belt; such as, helping with the bus boycott that last 382 days, that resulted in the unconstitutional laws of segregation on bus in 1956.  He is also known for his massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama and the peaceful march he directed in Washington, D.C., in which he presented “I Have a Dream.” 

“I Have a Dream,” was presented on August 28, 1963, in front of over 250,000 equal rights advocates.  This was a very important speech during its time because many people dreamt about freedom, getting along with others, and being treated fairly.  King begins with the Emancipation Proclamation.  Although African-Americans were “free” from slavery, he states that “… the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”  King is attempting to open the viewers’ and readers’ eyes, to make them realize that African-Americans are being treated poorly.  He reveals America’s hypocrisy as he attempts to explain how America was founded as a way to create freedom and fairness for everyone, not just white people, yet AfricanAmericans were still treated “less than” in the US.  “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ( King explains the reasons for the Constitution was made but then explains how it’s become a lie, because African-Americans were not “free” or treated fairly and that “… it is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned” (  He also used religion as a way of getting his point across, in that he argues that racial justice is what God would’ve wanted.  

Nonetheless, regardless of the wrong-doing that has been done, King still has a positive outlook and wants to change, “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children” (  He reveals that he still has faith in America, even if America doesn’t have faith in him.  He conveys his beliefs that America should change, and it should start now.

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