Persuasive Essay On Civil Disobedience

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The United States of America is a nation that values freedom above all, yet it fails to allow a portion of its population to be free. For centuries, African American slaves endured severe physical and mental abuse under the hands of their masters. The demise of slavery was followed by the end of the Civil War. Even though African Americans were finally emancipated, they were still unable to enjoy their newly granted freedom due to the unwillingness of white Americans to accept them as their equals. Being an African American in the U.S meant being denied basic Civil and Human Rights: the right to vote, social freedom, and equality. In order to ensure these rights for all, many great leaders, such as the late Martin Luther King Jr., rose to help…show more content…
King’s choice of methods to gain freedom (for the black community), one must understand who influenced him as a young college student. Henry David Thoreau, Booker T. Washington, and Mahatma Gandhi’s literary works and teachings left a long lasting impression on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King took their teachings of love, peace, and civil disobedience, and used them to lead African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. Within Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” essay, he elaborates on his belief that the State will never truly be “free and enlightened” until the state is able to grant individuals with power and treat them with the upmost respect; he dreams for a State that would be “just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor” (Thoreau, Henry T. Para. 48). This is true for the United States of America, because until it is able to treat the African American community with the humane respect they naturally deserve, there would be no peace. In July of 1959, Dr. King visited India and published his experience in his article “My Trip to the Land of Gandhi.” Dr. King was sure that the path towards the imagined State, which Thoreau dreamed of, would be through civil disobedience and peace after his visit to India: I left India more convinced than ever before that non-violent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. The Aftermath of hatred and bitterness that usually follows a violent…show more content…
King himself, was the campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. Back in the 1960’s, Birmingham was a city filled with pure hate, ignorance, and racism. It was a city in which being an African American meant being destined to a life of inferiority, discrimination, and daily victimization. The city of Birmingham, as King described it, was “the most thoroughly segregated city in the country” (qtd. in Oates 210). Anything black and white was segregated (Should be reworded doesn’t make sense, society was heavily segregated): schools, buses, diners, music, and even books. Bull Connor, the Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, and the Ku Klux Klan, terrorized the African American community without any repercussions. Bull Connor imprisoned a large portion of the colored community for petty crimes, and racist/predatory whites bombed the homes in African American neighborhoods. The bombings occurred so often “that one Negro section became known as Dynamite Hill” (Oates 209). Black people here “lived with the constant fear of threat [and] suffered from the full range of discrimination,” and their white colleagues stood mute in fear of having their own lives endangered (Oates 210). Dr. King and his advisers chose Birmingham because they knew that if they were able to confront the bitter hate and violent

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