Martin Luther King Somebodiness In The Civil Rights Movement

1870 Words 8 Pages
America is on fire with race relations, specifically race relations as they pertain to police brutality and African American protests. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a major proponent in leading African Americans to organize in the face of social and political injustice during the Civil Rights Movement. Among these broad injustices, African American individualism and their independent issues and causes can be overlooked. As Dr. King said, “This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality” (1396). Over fifty years after Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech, African Americans are still being forced to fight for the rights that should be granted to them …show more content…
Phillip Johnson explores the idea of “somebodiness” and what that concept entails in his article, “Somebodiness and Its Meaning to African American Men.” Johnson references Dr. King, stating that “somebodiness” was Dr. King’s most comprehensive concept of human dignity and that Dr. King believed dignity was inherent to human beings and a thing to be fought for through protests (333). As Dr. King states in his “I Have A Dream” speech, “one hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land” (1395). This quote imparts upon the audience the complete disregard for African American life in the 1960s – they were, in fact, “nobodies” to the white, American …show more content…
White and J.H. Cones, referenced in Johnson’s article, classify “somebodiness” as one with self-determination, self-love, self-definition, and self-acceptance, while also claiming that Dr. King used the term to define the psychological meaning behind the civil rights movement (333). In conjunction with these definitions of “somebodiness,” Johnson found through interviews he conducted with ten African American men ages thirty-five to sixty-seven that their perception of “somebodiness” consisted of having a sense of worth, purpose, and community (336). Interestingly, each of the men believed that their worth was guaranteed because God created them, a belief reflected by Dr. King in the following quote, “now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children” (Johnson 336; King 1396). This quote exemplifies that Dr. King saw all men as equal in the eyes of God, with every person being a

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