far has the importance of Martin Luther King been exaggerated in terms of improving conditions for black people living in America during the Civil rights struggle?
Even after slavery was abolished in 1865, black people still felt as second citizens because of the deep segregation that was going on in the southern states of America. The black people felt this way because the new Jim Crow Laws that was invented, laws such as black’s children and white children must be in a completely different school (Missouri, 1929) which also brings me to another Jim Crow Law that blacks and white children should not be allowed to play with each other (Birmingham, Alabama, 1930) but worst of all is that a white woman shall suffer time in jail if she has a child with a black man (Maryland, 1924). Such laws made black people second class citizens even though they had been made free by the Constitution. Furthermore, laws like these made racism institutionalised where even at an early age and at school, black people were told that they were not as good as their white peers. Martin Luther King worked extremely hard to change such segregation and discrimination in America. He is known as the leading individual to bring about improvement for black people living in America. For example he is known as a person who led “the world towards a global fight to end tyranny and injustice” (Gareth Brynant January 16, 2012).This quote highlights just how important King is seen as by some people. Even the President of America, Barrack Obama, said that King was responsible for giving "a voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideas - a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect" (President Obama talks about how being black affected his ideas about opportunity in a speech about the death of Trayvon Martin, March 2008). The point is that even the President of USA has spoken about the importance of Martin Luther King states how important this man was in changing people’s lives both during and after the Civil Rights struggle and how his legacy lives on even today. However, it needs to be noted that because Obama said this speech during a very sad time (the death of Trayvon Martin), it may be considered a little unreliable because it could have been over exaggerated due to the emotional stress Obama and America was facing – Maybe he got carried away because he was so upset. It is this very concept that will be my focus on my essay. I know that Martin Luther King was and highly important man but, I will now aim to show that even though he is very important, his importance may have been exaggerated in some areas where he was less able to make the changes he made in others. Although Martin Luther King made some extremely important improvements for black people living in America during the Civil Rights struggle, and such his legacy still lives on today (I will discuss these changes later on in this essay) his impact in other areas was less obvious. For example, he made changes and improvement in terms of the law and legislative changes, however he did not achieve much for the black people living in the northern ghettos of America where economic deprivation and a lack of opportunity was existent. Life was considered extremely hard for African-Americans living in urban areas with low paid jobs, this situation became worse during the 1930s when the Great Depression was around. A letter sent to the President by an angry white woman highlights how blacks were treated during this period whereby she stated that “it looks like [the President] could do something to help out the white people whilst the negroes can get work where the poor white man cannot ... there is a negroe working in the post office and white men can’t get a job to feed his family.. and negroes being worked everywhere instead of white men, it don’t look that it is rite and it is not rite” (Arron Wilkes, GCSE History Textbook, 2006). This information comes...
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