Racial Dissent And The Freedom Of African Americans

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Throughout American history, race has been a continuous topic of great debate and controversy. Many individuals from a plethora of different backgrounds all endeavored to change the status quo by fighting for the freedom of African-Americans. Although many of these individuals efforts were did to see fruition immediately, overtime, their combined efforts and persistence were successful at bringing about change. A few specific instances of racial dissent worthy of analysis include an anonymous slave’s petition in 1777, the infamous John Brown, and arguable the most influential civil rights activist—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dissent against racial injustices went back and forth between gradual and immediate emancipation and equal rights throughout history. However, gradual approaches became increasingly obsolete overtime. It was not until Martin Luther King Jr.’s method of nonviolent civil disobedience that major societal change was achieved. His methods combination of both peaceful and assertive protest enabled the movement to avoid undermining it’s cause by abstaining from violent acts, while remaining engaged in a publicly, vociferous, and persistent campaign to achieve their goals. Therefore, it combined the effective qualities of various forms of dissent/protest of the past into a movement that achieved great things in a relatively short period of time. The slave’s petition, sent to a Massachusetts Bay legislator, argued for gradual emancipation by considering Christian values and the grievances expressed in the Declaration of Independence in order to reinforce his/her argument. The slave mentions that many other slaves had previously sent numerous petitions with no success. This illustrates that slaves were petitioning for e... ... middle of paper ... ...dissent, King conveyed to those whom read this document that the civil rights movement was being conducted with reason, diligence, discipline, and moral integrity. It was because of these traits that the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s emerged victorious. In conclusion, many forms of dissent and protest have occurred throughout American history in attempts to combat racial inequalities and injustices with varying results. Whether using petitions, speeches, violent and nonviolent action, etc., movements to obtain racial equality teetered back and forth between immediate and gradual emancipation—both approaches having reasonable justifications. However, it was Martin Luther King Jr. who combined various forms of protest that emerged triumphant in obtaining civil equalities for African-Americans, and thus, his method of dissent was arguably the most effective.

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