Individual Leadership

IndividualLeadership

Individualleaders set out transformational and charismatic traits that makethem role models to young generation. However, not all leaders havedemonstrated ethical leadership styles to be envied. The paper aimsto observe and critically discuss the contribution of Martin LutherKing Jr.in civil rights movements.

MartinLuther King Jr. Was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Hewas the son of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Hewas brought up in the neighbourhood of Sweet Auburn. Martin LutherKing Jr. attended a public school and at theage of fifteen years, hewas admitted in Morehouse college to study medicine and law. Throughthe mentorship of the president of MorehouseDr. Benjamin Mays, hejoined the ministry. He graduated in 1948 and later joined CrozerTheological Seminary, Pennsylvania where he attained a degree inBachelor of Divinity. He won a reputable fellowship which made himelected as the president of the predominantly white senior class.

MartinLuther registered in Boston University for a graduate program wherehe earned a doctorate in the year 1953 of systematic theology. In theyear 1955, Martin Luther King Jr. was appointed as the spokesman forMontgomery Bus Boycott. This was a campaign by African Americanpeople of Montgomery in order to integrate the city’s bus line.After an all inclusive participation by the black citizens for threehundred and eighty one days, a court ruling was made by the SupremeCourt which stated that it was unconstitutional to segregate peoplein transportation according to their races.

MartinLuther was elected as the president of the Southern ChristianLeadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. This organisation was formed byMartin Luther together with some other civil rights activists inorder to create new leadership for the movement of the civil rights.He was to serve as the head of SCLC until he was assassinated in theyear 1968.

In1963, Martin led a group of activists for civil rights in a campaignthat was non violent. The campaign was aimed at the Birmingham whichwas the city that was segregated in America. This was triggered bythe hostile treatment by the city police who assaulted the youngblacks by using water hoses and dogs. The assault led to a nationalresentment which pushed for a legislation of the civil rights. Duringthis campaign, Martin Luther was jailed together with a bid number ofhis supporters. This attracted criticism from both the white and theblack clergyfor putting his life and that of his supporters intorisk.

Inthe late 1963, Martin joined hands with the religious and civilrights groups on a rally that was referred to as the March onWashington that was advocating for jobs and freedom. He led apeaceful rally condemning the injustices that were facing the AfricanAmericans in the country. This rally gathered approximately threehundred thousand participants. It was at this rally that he deliveredthe speech of “I Have a Dream”. This speech was a call for peaceand equality for all people regardless of the race. This was a greatinspiration to the nation to advocate for the civil rights. It wasbelieved that it was the most powerful speech that was everdelivered. The campaign made him named the man of the year in theTimes Magazine.

Atthe age of thirty five years, Martin Luther King Jr. was named theyoungest person to be awarded with the Nobel PeacePrize. It wasduring the year of 1964 that the Landmark Civil Rights Act was passedby the Congress. This act eliminated the legalized segregation onbasis of races in United States. Discrimination on the black and theminorities were made illegal especially on using public amenitiessuch as the school, public accommodation and transportation.

Thevoting rights act was passed in the year 1965 which was meant insettling the laws that eliminated the barriers that were existingwhen it came to electing an African American. Violence eruptedbetween the whites and the Selma demonstrators. The SouthernChristian Leadership Conference together with the Student NonviolentCoordinating Committee launched a campaign for registration ofvoters. This angered the Americans and it was a great inspiration tothe supporters who came from different parts of the country andgathered in Selma. They took part in the March of Montgomery that wasled by Martin Luther King Jr. and backed up by the President LyndonJohnson who had sent a great number of federal troop in order tomaintain peace. It was during this rally that the Congress approvedthe Voting Rights Act which assured the African American their votingrights.Martin Luther was shot on 4thof April 1968 which caused a great riot on the big cities of thecountry.

MartinLuther King Jr can be said to be a transformational, charismatic andan ethical leader since his attention was mainly focused towardsattaining economic justice for his own people. He led severalcampaigns to promote peace and he came out strongly in order toachieve a multiracial coalition for the weak Americans who advocatedfor change.

Conclusively,Martin Luther King Jr. is highly recognised in America foradvocatingfor the rights of the black Americans. He is greatly knownfor leading non violent campaigns. He could use the power of hiswords and non violent acts in his protests. He fought againstinternational conflicts and poverty. He maintained his principle ofequality for all men and women. In his thirteen years of leadership,America was able to experience a great progress towards equalitycompared to the previous three hundred and fifty years.

References

Carlton-Laney,I. (2013). King, Martin Luther, Jr. Encyclopediaof Social Work.

Chakrabarty,B. (2013). Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.: DefyingLiberals, but Deifying Liberalism. MohandasKaramchand Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Confluence of Thought,70-121.

Diamante,T. (2011). Leadership Development Programs That Work: IndividualTransformation by Design. OxfordHandbooks Online.

Luker,R. (n.d.). King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929–1968). Encyclopediaof Leadership.