The Impact of Martin Luther King Jr.


Courtesy of Honoring MLK

Crystal Tung

Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision that would change the world. He and his fellow supporters opened the eyes of many American citizens in a way most thought was impractical. He showed us the power of nonviolent protests and what a group of people can do when they work together. It is because of the contributions that Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers made to the civil rights movement that helped shape America into what it is today.

The Jim Crow Laws were a collection of laws that legalized the segregation of people based on their skin color. The Jim Crow Laws were established in the late 1870s after the American Civil War. Prior to the establishment, African Americans were forced to work in fields and were treated like objects. After the Civil War, African Americans – while technically labeled ‘free’ – were still treated lower than white people.

The Civil Rights Movement started after Rosa Parks got arrested for not giving up

Courtesy of USA Today

her seat for a white man in late 1995. After this scandal, many blacks started protesting about the unfairness of the Jim Crow Laws. It was the protests that Martin Luther King Jr. organized that got the attention of America. Martin Luther King organized peaceful protests, “Symbolic acts of peaceful opposition often used to denounce or show dissent toward a specific issue or policy” (Peace Presence)

Martin Luther King Jr. has impacted the world in a very positive way because of those peaceful protests. 7th grade World History teacher Mr. Sheridan says, “Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolence and standing up for what is right no matter the consequences, had a huge impact on race relations in this country. The country is a far fairer place for people of color than it was during his lifetime, and his influence has impacted other countries as well.” In response to how the Civil Rights Movement changed the world, Mr. Sheridan stated that, “ The Civil rights movement helped to pave the way for a more equitable society. That fight started prior to the movement, and it continues today.” Martin Luther King Jr. has impacted the world by helping us understand that the world doesn’t have to be the way it is. He taught us that we can stand up for what we think is right – even when no one else is.

The world wouldn’t be the same without the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Sheridan put it into perspective when he said, “… people of color would probably be considered separate from traditional American society and would be seen as second class citizens, and diversity would be seen as a negative instead of a positive thing.” This just goes to show that when a group of people stand up for what they believe in, anything can happen.