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Black Civil Rights

Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for his relentless effort as a civil rights activist to fight against the oppression of the African Americans. Luther was a dedicated American who used his eloquence and spirituality to give direction to his audience. Among the speeches delivered by Luther the most famous is ‘I have a Dream’ speech about jobs and freedom. Many years ago one of the most celebrated American leaders; Abraham Lincoln went down in history books by signing the Emancipation of Proclamation in January 1863 that would put to end slavery and oppression of the blacks in America.  

Power relations play an important role in the categorization of groups, where the ‘politically correct’ majority or in-groups dominate the oppressed minority or out-groups. Research by Matsueda and Drakulich states that people perceive racism as a product of three main issues: modern-day racism, administrative injustice, encouraged by the police, and heightened by racial discrimination by the political elite (177). According to King, over the years the black man continued facing racial injustices in total defiance to the sacred obligation of decree. The Negroes as observed by King do not have the right to vote, in order to elect their leaders; more so, the Negroes in Mississippi.

In America, the speaker observes that after more than a century, the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation did not bring freedom to the African Americans. Segregation and discrimination against the African Americans is still ripe in the wake of new era. In addition, the out-group is still locked in abject poverty at a time when the in-group Americans prospered in material wealth. The black civil rights movement ought to restore the dignity of the African Americans by ensuring that they are not viewed as slaves in their own country. However, as much as King advocates for the rights of the Negroes, he warns, “In the process of getting the rightful place, we have to not feel guilty of our wrongful deeds. For example, As noted by Cole and Omari, (2003), “Even under the slavery, there have already existed the ‘mulatto elite’, a part of the Black people who, by the virtue of their blood relations and light skin and to the White, the slave-owning class, received such benefits as assignment of the choice work tasks” (786).

There is a ray of optimism that the Whites and Blacks can propel a single cause, living up to their respective destinies by pulling together. This is evidenced by the presence of White Americans during the delivery of the ‘I have a Dream Speech’. In the speech, King concludes by stressing the importance of unity, which will ultimately lead to freedom of not only the Black community, but also the entire American society. This must happen according to King for America to remain the greatest nation.

The Honorable Thurgood Marshall Speech

Thurgood Marshall was an associate Justice in the United States of America’s Supreme Court.  This speech was delivered in the installation of Wiley Branton as the Howard Law School dean. Marshal and Branton had been friends having met in day-to-day legal duties. In particular, they met during the integration of Central High towards the end of the 1950s. Marshall’s speech became famous and got the national appeal due to its remarks on the achievement of equality by the African Americans.

Marshall’s introductory speech is a story about a wealthy man who made his fortunes from another person. After further investment, Marshall rewarded the person who helped him hit the jackpot. To the amazement of many, he chose to reward not the person who gave him the quarter to through into the slots, but the person who opened the door for him. In essence, he knew what he wanted and on this basis, Marshall emphasizes the need to be sure, of what an individual wants. Therefore, the fight against the oppression of the African Americans should begin by making personal sacrifices.

After the story Marshall notes the common perception that people always admit that they have come a long way. He refutes such statements by saying that the notion that the gap between the rich and poor in narrowing is false. In fact, the gap is getting bigger. “You look back, and people say we are better off today. Better than who?” (Marshall, 1978). This question implies that there was no betterment in the first place. The lives of the Negroes are only better that lives of an African living in the South Africa. Marshall talks of racial discrimination in the legal system by observing that it would be no mean achievement, if there is only one Negro in the Supreme Court.

Charlie Houston is a living example of those who put extra effort to change the status quo. After taking over as the Dean of Howard University Law School, it only took three years for the institution to get a full accreditation with the Association of American Law School and the American Bar Association. In addition, the reputation of the institution changed drastically and it took hard work for Houston to reach such heights. “He even installed the cutback system that would keep you on the books all the time.”

The speech by Marshall highlights the achievement of the African Americans in the legal system in America, and as the speaker observes, it took hard work and commitment to reach there. No American would have mercy in a court of law simply because one is an African American. The Blacks ought to work hard and face the well-trained White lawyers. Hard working means reading more cases per night or taking a step that would put one in better position than a rival. Marshall warns that the fact that the Ku Klux Klan still exist in America in an affirmation that racial discrimination persists in America (McComarck 2008). The KKK is an organization fighting for the Whites, so that they remain dominant in the political, economic and social welfares in America. 

The Rainbow Coalition by Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson is a renowned African American preacher who had an ambition of becoming the first Black president in America; but due to rampant race based politics, he failed. In the speech, Jackson recognizes that the occasion is neither a perfect Party nor a perfect mission, but the mission to fend for the poor. Americans safer from homelessness, joblessness, illiteracy and lack food among other poverty related social issues. For these reason Jackson wanted Americans to nominate a candidate for the Democratic Party who would fight towards the fulfillment of equal rights for all.

In the U.S, as noted by Frazier and Tettey-Fio (2006), there is a racial distinction, ‘us and them’ in the provision of a number of benefits in economic, political, and social amenities. Speaking as a presidential hopeful, Jackson criticized the Ronald Reagan regime for rampant corruption the benefited the corporate. They became richer because of tax evasion. Under Reagan, the education budget declined, there are massive deficit funding, and health care cuts. Paradies and Williams claim, “It should first be recognized that racism is only one of several causes of ethnoracila disparities in health” (475). These are the reasons behind the formation of the Rainbow Coalition. Rainbow Coalition raises the right issues. Buoyed by the bad state of American economy, Jackson believes that time for change is now.

The modern American society is bonded in the politics of symbolic racism as manifested in different campaign mechanisms, used by politicians in the 2008 period (Ford, Maxwell, and Shields, 2010). The politics of America favors a particular race. For instance, Jackson observes, “We look from Virginia around to Texas and there is only one Black Congressperson out of 115” (Jackson, 1984) The African Americans are still out of the Congress, Senate, and governorship. Nevertheless, there is power of the Black vote. It will take the voice of advocacy for those discriminated against to the respective institutions. For instance, to ensure that the Voting Right Act passes, there must be at least 12 to 20 votes. Jackson’s speech also focuses on the importance of trading with the Africans. Instead of taking aid to Africa, the American society instead needs to boost trade with the continent. Super powers do not need to enforce leadership in the African regimes.