To be courageous is necessarily connected with feeling personal danger. If no danger exists, no courage is possible. To show true courage, one must be nonviolent. Violence is the last resort of a coward. For one's courage to truly effect a situation, one must convince others to show the same type of courage. The perfect embodiment of moral courage in the face of serious personal danger is Martin Luther King Jr.
King stood up to bigotry through his words and actions. He showed courage without simply thinking that danger may exist, but knowing that danger would exist. He felt that the only way to truly stand up and make a difference is to be punished for just actions. This will inspire followers to show the same impressive courage. Despite nonviolence, King was arrested on a multitude of occasions for breaking the segregation laws of his time period. During one of these arrests, King reflected on his stance in a letter to his fellow clergymen from Birmingham Jail.
"There are two types of laws: there are just and there are unjust laws.. An unjust law is no law at all... So I urge men to disobey segregation ordinances because they are morally wrong... One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly... and with a willingness to accept the penalty"
King is saying that to show moral courage one must not only break the unjust laws, but one must also desire to be caught. To break an unjust law and not be punished will not serve to change the law. King took his own words to heart and broke segregation laws whenever possible. He did this while not just in the face of danger, but with danger breathing down his neck. His ability to endure punishment for a just act inspi...
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...at they cannot sit idly by just because the injustices of the time do not affect them. One must act to preserve justice for all, even if one is not the target of injustice.
King's moral courage had a profound effect on all those of his time period and in the future. His life and actions have significance for all people, both then and now. King's courage not only changed the world, but his words of many years ago tell people today that the fight is not over. There are people dying due to injustices all over the world. King's words about problems of the past apply to the problems of today. Injustice in the Middle East affects the justice in the life of an average middle income American. Thus, even in death King is able to call us to action. Through openness, nonviolence and a commitment to future justice, King is a model of courage in the face of personal danger.
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