Moral Courage in Martin Luther King's Character: Why is Courage Important

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Many people have had moral courage in the past. Many people still possess moral courage, but no person exemplifies this more than Martin Luther King Jr. Moral courage is the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. Moral courage is important because the people who have it have helped many people and changed their lives for the better. Martin Luther King Jr accomplished multiple of these.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there for much of his early life. He passed away on April 4th, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. He was assassinated by a man named James Earl Ray. During his early years, Martin excelled in academics and in high school he was able to skip the 9th and 12th grades. At the age of 15 he entered Morehouse College in Atlanta. During college King came to the conclusion that he was going to become a minister. After he graduated from Morehouse, he entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, to earn a divinity degree. Later, he went to graduate school at Boston University, where he got a Ph.D degree in theology. In Boston he met his future wife, Coretta, with whom he’d have four children. After college, Martin started to get into the civil rights movement. King believed that black people should be treated fairly and be seen as equal to white people.

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His first act of moral courage came when he protested the segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama. He protested the bus system because black people were forced to give up their seat to a white person and sit in the back of the bus. Earlier, in 1955 a woman named Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person, so Dr. King decided that he was gonna stand up for her and other black people like him. He and other black people boycotted the cities buses for over a year.

Another act of moral courage was that when terrorists would bomb King’s house he never gave into fear and he kept going with his peaceful protests. Most people would’ve stopped when they started getting attacks on their lives, but not Martin. He wouldn’t give up on his dream of racial equality no matter what. In 1956, his efforts paid off and Montgomery changed its law to provide equal integrated seating on buses. The new law finally made it so that people of color could sit anywhere on the bus and they didn’t have to give up their seat to a white person. This is an example of moral courage because even in the face of adversity King didn’t stop doing what was right.

In 1965, King showed moral courage when he marched through white neighborhoods in Chicago to protest fair housing and rent for black people. The white people were very angry that black people were marching in their neighborhood and they started to throw things and call King and his disciples racial slurs and many other This shows moral courage because despite the white people throwing things at them and calling him and the other people names they wouldn’t be intimidated and they kept marching until officials in Chicago promised that they would encourage fair housing practices. It helped black people get out of the ghetto and move into nicer neighborhoods.

Clearly, Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example of someone who had moral courage in the face of adversity and at a time it was very difficult to stand up and show courage to help others. Dr King’s accomplishments still have effects to this day. His strides toward racial equality have helped people of color and white people live together in unity. Without King’s courage and persistence things might not be the way they are today. It takes a lot to stand up and do the right thing. You could even have moral courage yourself. It doesn’t have to be as big as what Dr. King did, but it can just be something simple like standing up for a person who is being bullied and can’t defend themselves. Martin Luther King Jr. will forever be a symbol of moral courage across the world.

Works Cited

  1. Garrow, David J. 'King, Martin Luther, Jr.' World Book Student, World Book, Accessed 11 May. 2019 

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