what did martin luther king jr have to do with civil disobedience
Harry C. Byrd was a former football player, instructor, athletic director and president of the University of Maryland, and is often credited with the school’s growth and transformation from small agricultural college to modern university. He was also a staunch segregationist and was instrumental in denying admission to the University of Maryland by any African American during his presidency. Fabled Byrd Stadium was named in his honor.
Recognized as a pivotal leader of the civil rights movement in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. applied the principles of civil disobedience and non-violent resistance as he took action in the public sphere on his religious beliefs and convictions, as well as his commitment to democracy, equality, and justice that inspired world leaders and ordinary people to become engaged in the struggle for civil and human rights. Which of the following statements below BEST describes an action that is closest to the approach advocated by civil disobedience?
Therefore, the justification for civil disobedience under Rawls’ theory is exceedingly rare. Only once a situation for the entire society reaches a critical mass should civil disobedience even be considered. The interruption of society as a whole is the only reason for civil disobedience, according to Rawls. He sets unusually high standards and discourages such an action. He states in a majority ruled country, uprisings by the minority only cause contention. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that civil disobedience was necessary if a particular group of people were being treated unfairly and unequally under the law. Rawls advocated a “wait and see” position to civil disobedience. Whereas Martin Luther King Jr. believed that time was the enemy of justice.
Martin Luther King Jr. said that segregation is unjust because it “distorts the soul and damages the personality” (King). The person who participates in the act of segregation has a false sense of superiority over the oppressed. As a result, the oppressed person develops a sense of inferiority. Therefore, segregation is unjust, immoral, reprehensible, and a sin against God and humanity. The famous existential theologian, Paul Tillich defined sin as separation from God. Segregation is separation, therefore, segregation is sin. Sin is morally wrong and must not be condoned. Therefore, people should protest against segregation.
Leaders of civil disobedience insisted, that actions aimed to break specific laws, shouldn’t be violent. Their participants should endure punishment, and thus provoke the government or the majority of people to take action, resulting in social, political, and economic change.
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In sum, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his campaigns of civil disobedience are like a two-edged sword. On the one hand, his legacy holds social structures accountable to a moral universe, pressing them to serve all people, not simply members of one race or class. His legacy also pushes us toward a more capacious and inviting notion of what it means to be American.
“But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions. This America speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks back to a particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and then a Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics as well. It draws its social norms from the mores of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora — and it expects new arrivals to assimilate themselves to these norms, and quickly.
King’s illustrations of the sort of actions he envisioned are useful in clarifying the distinction. His first illustration was offered as a hypothetical, though it has since become a common method in actual protests. Traffic laws are not in themselves unjust, King allowed, but their operation may be legitimately suspended for emergency purposes. The disruption of traffic, infringing on a right of access to a public road, is in his view a permissible means of extracting a public concession to an aggrieved group’s demands. He offered a second illustration in the form of a direct suggestion. “[We] will move on Washington,” he resolved, “determined to stay there until the legislative and executive branches of the government take serious and adequate action …. A delegation of poor people can walk into a high official’s office with a carefully, collectively prepared list of demands. And if that official [is nonresponsive], you can say, ‘All right, we’ll wait.’ And you can settle down in his office for as long a stay as necessary.” [REF]
There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of its way …. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed. There is a fire raging now for the Negroes and the poor of this society …. Disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds. [REF]