Martin Luther King to this day is a greatly respected and admired man by people that weren’t even alive in his time. He showed strength and courage to everyone around him. He sincerely believed that sometime in the future (wether that had been 10 years from then, 50 years from then or 100 years from then) there would be equal rights for all. Because of all of the hard work and passion so many different people had put into trying to get the black communities accepted and treated equal by all. Black Americans were isolated from the whites and King was no exception towards this cruel fact.
Martin Luther King changed the 1960’s in many ways. He fought strongly against racism and protested many times against it as well. He is one of the main reasons why the US is the way it is today. King is one of the most influential people in the United States who changed the lives of many by three things: his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, I Have a Dream speech, his organisation of the march on Washington, and his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the years of 1960 to 1965, King’s influence on the American population had come to its peak. Because of King’s idea of non-violence protest (sit-ins, protest marches) he caught the eye of not only many blacks but also liberal whites in all parts of the country. King even got the support of the higher archery of Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
In the spring of 1963, King was holding a campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and in hiring practices in Birmingham, Alabama. His protest then received nationwide attention when police had turned dogs and fire hoses on the demonstrators. A large number of protestors were jailed, which included King himself, many of his supporters and even hundreds of schoolchildren. From the Birmingham jail, King wrote his now famous letter Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In this letter he spelled out his philosophy of nonviolence:
“You may well ask: Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path? You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. . . . We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” (JR., 1963)
He changed the 60s when he gave his I Have a Dream speech. He included in it, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” (JR., 1963) By this, he meant that he wanted everyone to just get along. He was tired of people getting disrespected because of their race or religion. This speech impacted millions of people and changed their lives and ways of thinking. Where King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech he also took part in producing the March on Washington which caught the attention of just over 250,000.
A lastly, King did to change the 1960s was when he won the Nobel Prize, and gave the money away. He said in his acceptance speech, “Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle, and to a movement which has not yet won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize”. When he…