Heroes drive the history of mankind, giving expression to impulses and ideas that have for some time occupied the minds of other people. The appearance of an outstanding personality spearheads the history of mankind. In my view, a hero is someone who has given positive impetus to social processes, who sociologused exceptional leadership ability to improve people’s lives. One such hero, in my deepest conviction, is Martin Luther King Jr., the man who helped to redefine the civil rights in America and reshaped interracial relations.
His role in promoting civil rights is indisputable and helped to realize a breakthrough change in the attitude toward Afro-Americans in the US. This, in my mind, is King’s most important contribution: he managed to carry out a revolution not just in government politics, but also in the minds of the people. Discrimination and bad treatment of the poor are in generated by the attitudes of individuals and come to the fore when these individuals come together as a group in order to coin various laws in society. King drew people’s attention to what it means to be a democratic society and took this understanding to a new level. The 1963 March on Washington he helped to organize and his memorable “I have a dream” speech will remain in the hearts of the people for ages. They have now turned into a benchmark against which people can measure racial prejudice – and try to overcome this with non-violent action.
I think King’s emphasis on non-violent action is another great asset of his program and activities. By conducting non-violent struggle, one can gain much more support than with extremist actions and make a greater contribution to people’s well-being. Persuasion and dedication can win over hearts and foster cooperation between individuals coming from various backgrounds.
King’s heroic action in initiating social change was remarkable as he was able to introduce a way of fighting that seemed dubious to many activists. I believe that ability to go against the current is indispensable for a leader, and King’s ability to stand his ground in disputes with fellow activists proves his leadership potential. A true leader will contradict people so as to realize actions directed toward the good of these very people. King had a greater vision than most of his allies, and he was successful in convincing them to follow his vision.
Finally, his attention to the needs of the poor is really remarkable. I admire the episode when King together with Ralph Abernathy, being of a middle-class backgrounds, moved into poor Chicago headquarters to initiate the civil rights movement there. Unlike Abernathy, King stayed despite violence and a cold reception. Although he did not succeed into turning civil rights movement into a spectacular success in the city, his perseverance and commitment to helping the disadvantaged residents of the slums is truly remarkable. This is what I would expect of a real hero – caring for the needs of people who, for some reason, cannot take care of themselves.
Although not really close to the image of a fairy-tale knight, King remains a hero and a role model for millions of Americans, regardless of the race. In my view, his dedication, leadership potential, unforgettable oratory skills and ability to win support of common people make him worthy of a hero’s title.
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