Martin Luther King Jr. And The Ku Klux Klan Essay, Research Paper
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Ku Klux Klan have been major parts of prejudice in the 1900s. Martin Luther King Jr. had one of the most powerful speeches ever. He helped many people in the United States in the movement against prejudice. The Ku Klux Klan has, however, has contributed to prejudice in the United States. Although the Ku Klux Klan has diminished, even disbanded at a time, it exists now and is spreading strong hate. People come out to protest against the Ku Klux Klan when the have a rally, and it becomes a scene of yelling. Prejudice has always existed; some of the biggest moments with and against prejudice have been in the 1900s.
?I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream? a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.?
These famous words were those of Martin Luther King Jr. More than 200,000 people filled the grassy area around the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. The words ?I have a dream? have become the largest symbol of Martin Luther King Jr. and his non-violent efforts to secure justice for all African-Americans. King?s speech and leadership inspired the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to use non-violent methods.
The goal of the SCLC was to try to win equality for African-Americans. SCLC members pledge to avoid violence in reaching its goal of equality for African-Americans. All of the SCLC?s victories were won through non-violent methods. If King would not have inspired the methods of the SCLC, then there may have been a great delay, or even a disappearance of the strides for equality. It may have even kept many people believing in equal rights, like Atticus, in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, when he stands up for the African-American Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white woman when there is absolutely no proof.
The Ku Klux Klan has been a known contributor to prejudice through most of the twentieth century. The Klan formed when many whites feared equality. It attempts to maintain white supremacy with terror and violence. Although the Klan disbanded in 1871, it became active again in 1915. The Klan targets include African-Americans, Roman Catholics, Jew, and the foreign-born. The influence of the Ku Klux Klan began to wane in the years after World War One, and by the 1930s, it lost much of its powers. Even with the loss of power in the Klan, it still maintained the ability to strike fear across the South. This is shown in the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry when Mama says ?We used to only used to care about not being lynched and just getting by.?
The Ku Klux Klan is the best-known group to cause terror. They were trying to ?put blacks in their place.? The Klan would single out African-Americans who had displeased the old ruling class. By threats, whipping, and even lynching, they felt that they made their point. The Klan would even do the same, although less often, to whites who had joined with the African-Americans in their fight for full equality. These whites, often called carpetbaggers and scalawags, would usually suffer the same as the African-Americans. Richard Wright shows the fears of the African-Americans in the novel Black Boy when Richard says ?We would have moved out of the way if they tried to keep us from getting a job or enjoying the rights of citizenship.?
Although the Ku Klux Klan has diminished, it is still spreading hate in the United States. The Klan, however, does not lynch, whip, or threaten people anymore. Now the Klan goes on rallies and gives speeches, but they often end up in yelling of vulgar slangs. People come out to protest the Klan, but yell as well and want to fight the Klan. This is only spreading the anger. Police must be at every rally of the Ku Klux Klan to keep it from turning into an enormous brawl.
Prejudice is shown in many novels and plays. Prejudice is shown in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird when the African-American Tom Robinson is charged with rape when there is no proof and it is almost obvious that he couldn?t do it, it is almost impossible for Tom to have even done it. Prejudice is also shown in To Kill a Mockingbird when the aunt and all of her friends are drinking coffee and talking; they talk about everybody in the town and are prejudice against everyone in the town no matter what. Prejudice is shown also in the novel Black Boy throughout the entire book, it is shown when the white men in the saloon give Richard the alcohol and get him drunk as a young boy just to have fun. Prejudice also takes place in Black Boy when Richard?s boss gets him and the other boy to fight for five dollars. The white men just needed something to do and decided to get two African-Americans to fight. Another example of prejudice in the novel Black Boy is when Shorty, the elevator operator, allows a white man kick him in the butt for a quarter. An example of prejudice in a play is in A Raisin in the Sun when the white man tries to keep the Youngers from moving because he does not want them in the neighborhood. The white man offers money and says that they might mess up the neighborhood, but the Youngers move anyways to keep their pride. In all of these writing, it shows people standing up against prejudice or trying to stop or get away from it. These novels and the play show how much prejudice is a problem and is truly a disease that needs to be eliminated.
The fight against prejudice has made incredible and great progress in the 1900s. Martin Luther King Jr. has lead and inspired many people in the fight against prejudice. The Ku Klux Klan is at one of its lowest points, and most people in the United States now believe in equal rights for all people. If this trend continues, then hopefully prejudice can be completely destroyed. Prejudice has always existed; some of the biggest moments with and against prejudice in the United States have been in the 1900s.