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Martin Luther King and His Impact on Society Term Paper

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Updated: Aug 6th, 2021


The United States of America is a country of many nations and cultures, but there were times when the “white” society did not accept the rights and freedoms of anyone who was different from them. The present world has changed a great deal from before, but even today, there are setbacks and discrimination for certain racial groups. In particular, African American society has come a long way from the way it was treated decades ago. They have fought for their rights and established themselves as Americans with equal rights and freedoms. Martin Luther King is a person who changed the way African Americans were treated, and he did it in an exquisite, unique, and morally correct way.

General overview

The movement

Even though the African American society is still suffering from the fact that their families and relatives grew up in a segregated and separated America, things were much worse before Dr. King impacted the world. The oppression of African Americans has been going on for a long time, but the major changes started to happen around the year 1963 when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Since that time, there was an active fight in the establishment of the respected and valued position of African Americans in American society.

The input Martin Luther King Jr. has made into the American society and how he changed the treatment and lives of the African-American population is enormous. His major social framework was nonviolent conflict resolution, and the letter from Birmingham Jail is an example of that. He talks about being aggressive through active resistance and peaceful protests. The ability of people to refuse to follow the regime is a major way how Martin Luther King accomplished change and respect towards the African American population (Ling, 2002).

He dedicated his life to fighting for the rights and freedoms of his fellow African-Americans. He has written several works and gave famous speeches that changed history and people’s attitudes forever. Martin Luther King’s “Three Types of Resistance” examines the ways in which people can rebel against oppression and what the most effective and beneficial ways of doing this are. Nonviolent resistance to oppression is the best avenue to take, as it promotes nonviolence, a peaceful resolution based on understanding and human kindness.


The majority of times, it is extremely difficult to explain inner wants and goals in a peaceful manner, and conflict breaks out. Martin Luther King was a great man who understood that violence would never solve anything. Acquiescence is a response to oppression, which is based on complete inaction. A person or group of people simply do what they are told, and they do not fight back in any way, violent or nonviolent.

This sort of behavior is caused by a long time of oppression and mistreatment. A person gets used to the unfair conditions and pain, which is inflicted by the oppressor. It becomes such a great part of life that a person cannot imagine how life would be without this suffering. Martin Luther King Jr. states that anyone who chooses this sort of resistance, which in reality is non-existent, is a coward and is himself reinforcing the unequal treatment of the oppressor. Dr. King believed that anyone who chooses acquiescence participates in the evil that the oppressor spreads. By inaction, people allow evil to exist, and the fact that they stand by and allow for it to go on means they do not oppose it, and if they do not oppose it, it means they have nothing against it, which means they permit evil to exist (Glasberg, 2011).

Dr. King has chosen an approach that was bound to be successful through active and direct action.

Types of resistance

Martin Luther King admits that sometimes it is hard to see another way out, and there are even times when violent conflict seems to bring on positive results. The first problem with this form of resistance is the fact that evil is being fought using evil. Simply destroying something will not create anything new. In order for things to change, there must be a careful consideration of all matters. When a violent conflict breaks out, things happen very fast, and people have no time to think, to stop, and consider several possibilities. Violence is the ending resolution to everything. It does not lead to new understanding or ideas; it destroys indifferently and senselessly. Martin Luther King believed that the only way to change the world and people in nonviolent resistance. When people have a common goal and attitude, it is in their right to unite and take action against the oppressors.

This should be done in a tactical and respectful manner with much evidence and support from other groups and individuals. Nonviolent resistance creates a statement that something is wrong with the way things are now and that people demand something must be done to resolve the issue. There were a number of protests and marches by African-Americans, women, and minority groups who have taken the nonviolent approach. They were able to demonstrate that they are in control, and their demands were clearly visible (Nojeim, 2004). Even though it has taken many years for women and African-Americans to gain their rights, some oppression still goes on today; the results have been brought on in a peaceful and most admirable manner (Nojeim, 2004). The social changes that King has made have reshaped the present world and enabled the majority of society to see the correct way to treat others who are different.


Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest thinkers and fighters for human rights. He has displayed, on numerous occasions, that nonviolence is the only way to exist in a civilized world. People must find ways and patience to resist the oppressing force without hurting innocent people in the process. His essay titled “Three Types of Oppression” serves a specific and clear purpose. It is to educate people on the negatives and positives of the resistance itself but also on the wrongful ways of dealing with such resistance. The explanations given by Martin Luther King are made simple and comprehensible to make sure that there are no doubts and wrongful understanding of his concepts.

His message was very strong and direct.

He wanted people to see how wrong humanity was throughout its existence. At the slightest disagreement, a violent conflict would break out, and instead of resolving the issue, it would be simply covered up and forgotten for some time, just to resurface at a later date. This essay was written for adults and everyone who has some form of power or authority over others. It is not only the politicians and governments; it is also regular people who are parents, doctors, teachers, and writers. The ability to make others listen and comprehend what one is saying is a skill everyone must develop, and Martin Luther wanted to demonstrate this in his paper. But, at the same time, his writings are for those who are being oppressed every day and year of their life. This is a sign that they do not have to suffer anymore, that their inaction is wrong, and something must be done if they want to change anything. It is a way to reassure and give hope to all those who were unable to find ways of how to deal with constant unfairness and belittlement.

Dr. King is educating people on how to make their voices heard and how to do it in a most efficient and peaceful way.


The language that he uses is very formal but, at the same time, very true. Martin Luther is not afraid to call things as they are, and so he openly states that those who do nothing are “cowards.” People who oppress others, he calls “evil” and is very right in doing so.

He tries to make the language and ideas accessible for as many people as possible so that his message is understood.

But it seems that he wanted to reach the heart of people as well. He passionately describes the hardships and unfairness and the ways to combat such things.

Martin Luther King makes it clear that he is pitiful but at the same time angry at the people who allow their oppressors to mistreat others and how they idly stand by without taking any action. When he speaks about violent solutions to problems, it is obvious how much he hates evil and conflict and people who resort to such ways. His words and actions have become timeless, impacting the social fabric of the modern world.


Glasberg, D. (2011). Political Sociology: Oppression, Resistance, and the State. Thousand Oaks, United States: Sage Publications.

Ling, P. (2002). Martin Luther King, Junior. New York, United States: Routledge.

Nojeim, M. (2004). Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance. Westport, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group.

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