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Martin Luther King as a Shaper of Modern Western Society

Martin Luther King is one of the most notable figures of the modern American history, one, without whom the picture of the contemporary USA cannot be fully comprehensive. Although today he is mostly remembered for the way he met his death, half a century ago it was the way he led his life that influenced thousands of people, forging the foundation of what the American society represents now.

Martin Luther King was a Baptist clergyman, social activist and the leader of the African American civil rights movement, who used non-revolutionary methods in order to bring his policies into life: sermons, peaceful marches, lectures and so on, thus acquiring the reputation of one of the greatest orators of his time.

One of the most iconic actions performed by him was the famous March on Washington in 1963, when he delivered his most well-known speech, “I Have a Dream”. Martin Luther King became the youngest person who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his activities in the social sphere. In his rhetoric he used religious phraseology, which found widespread response among traditional Christian Afro-American population of the United States.

After he was mortally wounded by a sniper, the wave of social unrest went through the nation, leading to more than a hundred of uprisings across the country – the Afro-Americans perceived his assassination as the sign of the social system being incorrigible and very often turned to much more violent methods of struggle, than King promoted, being attracted to the organizations like “Black Panthers”, who, in contradiction to the King’s ideals, were popularizing armed response.

Whatever one may think of today’s picture of the American society, one nevertheless cannot but admit that Martin Luther King was one of the most important figures in creating it.


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