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 example of moral courage in the face of serious personal danger is Martin Luther King Jr.
King stood up to racism 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 millions of people to stand up for the rights of Africa Americans peacefully. To repeatedly take abuse and to never lift a fist takes a courage level that is impossible to calculate. Other civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X believed that black people must eliminate segregation and injustice “by any means necessary” (“(1964) Malcolm X’s Speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity”). This included violence as a matter of course. This was the easy way out because it reduced the freedom fighters to the level of their oppressors. King spoke about his commitment to nonviolence in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. (“Martin Luther King Jr.”)
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” (“A Quote by Martin Luther King Jr.”)
Although King fought for black people’s rights peacefully, he did manage to get thrown in jail quite a few times, 29 times to be exact (Klein). Not all the times he went to jail was related to the civil rights movement but some were even for speeding (“King Arrested and Jailed for Speeding”). The most memorable time King was arrested was in 1963 because he and others were protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama (Rothman). While in jail the King wrote a letter to eight clergymen who had written an open letter criticizing the actions of King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during their protests in Birmingham. King tells the eight clergymen that he was upset about their criticisms, and that he wants to address their concerns. King isn’t afraid to get thrown in jail or face the people who want you to fail the most. (“Martin Luther King Jr.”2) King showed moral courage by not giving up.
King from a young age was involved with the civil rights movement. King was only 26 years old when he joined the bus boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks in Montgomery where he lived. He became the official spokesman for the boycott (Staff). King had the courage to lead movements, protests, and marches. King fought for what he knew was right but respected those who thought differently than himself.
He made a famous speech that is known as the “I have a Dream” speech. (“I Have a Dream”) That speech was an inspiration to millions of African-American people. Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest against segregated buses. It started when an older lady named Rosa Parks, who is now famous for not giving up her seat, was arrested. Martin Luther King Jr. was a very powerful speaker. He knew how to lead protests, and how to get people involved. He is the main reason for the equal rights between races that we have today.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had courage. He had it, gave it away, and showed his courage. His courage led the whole nation to a new dream of racial equality. … Even through the times of difficulty, when Dr. King was arrested in January 1963, he spread his teachings throughout the country. King lost his life trying to better the lives of African-American people. He was one of the greatest American Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s. After kings death people woke up a little more. His death affects the world today and will always be remembered.
“If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, then he hasn’t got a reason to live.” These were famous words of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoken June 23, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan.