Martin Luther King Jr.

May 24, 2009
By Anonymous

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Person of the Modern Era is a very big title to be given to a person. That’s why it shouldn’t be given to just anyone. The Person of the Modern Era should be given to someone who has helped to make a significant amount of peoples’ lives easier, did what they believed was right without caring about the consequences, or the rewards, and finally have made a significant impact on the U.S., or even the world in a positive way. One man who fills all of these criteria is civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., which is why he should be named Person of the Modern Era.

One big requirement for being Person of the Modern Era is to have helped make many peoples’ lives easier, which Martin Luther King Jr. certainly did. “He wanted to recruit the poor from urban and rural areas- -men and women of all races and backgrounds- -and lead them in the campaign for economic rights” (“Martin Luther King Jr.” 2). Martin Luther King Jr. was all about helping not only people of different races, but also the poor. Even though helping the poor might not have affected his life directly, it would change the lives of many others and he was willing to make that happen. “In 1948 King entered the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where for the next three years he studied theology, philosophy, ethics, the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch, and the religious and social views of Reinhold Niebuhr. It was also during this time that King first learned the nonviolent activism of Mohandas Gandhi” (Martin Luther King, Jr. 10). In studying all of these topics it is obvious that Martin Luther King Jr. was interested in how to deal with conflict, and religion, which means that he was all for helping people any way that he could. “As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men…I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action”(King, Martin Luther “Beyond Vietnam”3). Martin Luther King said this while he was discussing Vietnam. He feels that the way to help people, and accomplish social change is through nonviolence. In all these ways Martin Luther King Jr. helped to make the lives as many people easier.

Another piece of criteria that the Person of the Modern Era should fit is to have done what he had done for the good of the people, even if he knew he may have had to suffer the consequences, or didn’t know he might be recognized and rewarded. “In January of that year, 1964, he became the first African American to be named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.” And, in December of that year he was awarded the Nobel Piece Prize, the youngest person ever to win the award” (Martin Luther King Jr. 1). All of Martin Luther’s hard work for people’s rights was recognized and appreciated by many people. However, he didn’t go out of his way to accomplish all that he did to receive any awards, they just came a long while he was doing what he believed was right. “King was persuaded to participate in the Atlanta sit-in movement. On 19 October 1960 he and fifty one other activists were arrested at a downtown demonstration. King was sentenced to four months’ hard labor at Reidsville State Prison”(King, Martin Luther, Jr. 2). On the flip side to getting awards, acting on what you believe in can also have some major consequences. Martin Luther King Jr. probably knew that participating in the sit-in wouldn’t end very well, but he did it anyway, very bravely, because he knew he was supposed to stand up for himself and many others, despite the consequences that would follow. In these ways Martin Luther King Jr. stood up for what he believed in and didn’t let anything stand in his way.

The last thing that the Person of the Modern Era should have succeeded in doing was impact the U.S., or even the world, in a positive way. “On 1 December 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus. Her arrest led to the organization of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), which launched a boycott of the city’s bus system. As president of the MIA, King communicated the aspirations of the protesters not only to the nation, but to the world as well” (King, Martin Jr. 10). By realizing that the segregation laws were unjust, Martin Luther King took action and became involved with the MIA. In doing this, he made the group known among many people. Eventually people would join in and realize that segregation was affecting the U.S. “Martin Luther King Jr. has evolved from a prominent civil rights leader into the symbol for the civil rights movement in the United States…to better the nation, or the world”(“Martin Luther King Jr.” 1) His motive wasn’t to better the whole world, just a group of people, but his works accomplished so much more, that he wasn’t expecting. All of these reasons show how King impacted the world and the U.S. in a very positive way.

The criteria that should be filled in order to be the Person of the Modern Era is to have done something only to help people, stood up for something that they believed in no matter what the consequences might have been, and have impacted the U.S., or even the world in a significant way. King meets all the criteria; therefore, he deserves to win the title of Person of the Modern Era.

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