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Martin Luther King Jr Essay Samples

Martin Luther King Jr. civil disobedience essay sample

Civil disobedience refers to the deliberate act of saying no to civil laws with the motive of changing the system of governance usually through use of passive resistance and a number of other non-violent means. Throughout history, people have opposed policies and legislations through such avenues as mass demonstrations, property destruction, boycotts, mass marches and civil disobedience. These are great tools for fighting for the rights of the common man who is often taken advantage of by the one in authority. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the champions of civil disobedience in the United States of America known for fighting the war against segregation of African-Americans in some parts of the US. Martin couldn’t stand behind and watch as colored people were unjustly treated based on the color of their skin.

Reasons for Martin’s use of civil disobedience

As a leader of his community, Martin Luther King Jr. opted for civil disobedience as a way of changing the pattern of things during his time. He didn’t believe in physical force as other leaders did so he chose the way of peace. In addition to being a peaceful individual, Martin also felt that civil disobedience drove the point home more than other means did. This is because of the possibility of one to prove why he or she is fighting for the given cause. If you believe that wrong has been done to you, you can state your arguments and statements using any and every available backup and evidence. For instance, during Martin’s time, the African Americans faced tough times especially with police brutality as well as other judicial systems. There was need to oppose these systems while stating tangible reasons why.

After presenting his arguments, Martin Luther King Jr went ahead to listen to the opposing side and find out if they had an amicable solution for the problem or not. This required negotiating with the present government who at the time were unwilling to do so. This prompted him to take his arguments to another body (the economic body) and seek justice therein. Unfortunately, this produced no fruit as well. After doing all the above, Martin had no choice but to hit the government directly.

When writing an example of Martin Luther King Jr civil disobedience essay, one easily sees why direct action had to take place. It was a case of “desperate times call for desperate measures.” When all else failed, the last card had to be pulled. After a good number of years of injustice to the colored people especially in the Southern states of the US, Martin strongly felt that change had to come. He wouldn’t rest until this had taken place. He realized that although the legal systems worked, they favored some people while oppressing some and this called for action to be taken against those in power.

Martin Luther King Jr civil disobedience essay conclusion

Just like Mahatma Gandhi who fought against oppression of the Indian people by the South African government, Martin Luther King Junior played a key role in shaping the American system of governance. This is why he is a hero in the African-American community. Here are some of the pros and cons of Martin’s civil disobedience action for the colored people in the United States.


  • It inspired the people to fight for their rights
  • It triggered other movements to rise up and refuse wrong laws that only suited the white man
  • Martin aroused sympathy from unexpected northern white liberals who had to intervene and change the way things were done in the south
  • It led to the formation of the civil rights movement, a body that was non-existent before the civil disobedience move


  • Martin copied Gandhi’s ideas which made him look less creative
  • In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr had become quite distracted by socio-economic issues as opposed to fighting for the colored people.
  • The civil disobedience action led to the alienation of Johnson by attacking the involvement of the Americans in the Vietnam war.

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Martin Luther King Speech

In 1963 Dr Martin Luther King Jr shared with the world his dream for the future. He spoke of a world in which people of different races could live together harmoniously. He spoke about a change in the way that people would look at one another, seeing beyond physical differences and respecting what lies beneath. In the 52 years since the world first heard about this dream so much has changed yet so much has remained the same.

The Speech Itself

While Martin Luther King’s speech is often quoted, it must be looked at in the context of the time in which it was written. As a black man, he was often treated like he was less than human by the very people to whom he continuously held out the olive branch of peace. His speech could easily have been one of hatred and racial superiority but he chose to make it about the need for reconciliation between black and white communities for the betterment of all as citizens of the same country. This made it a rallying cry long after his untimely assassination. He is still ranked highly among the ranks of Mahatma Gandhi and many others who chose peace as a means for achieving their objectives.

The Change

To what extent were his actions truly successful in achieving the dream that he described so eloquently? As a result of the Civil Rights movement the United States of America has seen segregation and miscegenation law overturned, greater rights and protection for minorities. In 2009, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of America and for all intents and purposes it appeared that the dream had become a reality. Unfortunately institutional racism built upon centuries of white supremacy would be much more difficult to dismantle. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of police brutality cases in which minorities especially black persons were targeted.After a number of unarmed black persons were killed at the hands of the police a movement not unlike the movement of Dr Kings time emerged.

Progress is hinged upon effort. In these trying time persons of varying hues have come forward to inject energy into keeping the dream alive and moving it inch by inch towards becoming a reality. America has come a very long way but still has much farther to go. In spite of the setbacks Dr King would be heartened by all that has been accomplished thus far.