MartinLuther and George Wallace
MartinLuther and George Wallace
Inthe 1960s, the United States was a nation highly divided by racebecause the white population perceived themselves a superior racethan the rest which led to segregation and division throughout thecountry. This was evidenced in social amenities and social servicesmeant to serve all Americans irrespective of their race, religion,gender or political affiliation. The emergence of an uprising among afew Americans led to a major breakthrough for social justice andfreedom especially for African Americans who for a long time weresubjected to poverty, nation-wide discrimination and socialinjustice. Martin Luther King was African American elite whocampaigned for the liberty of all minority groups by the Americangovernment. George Wallace was a white American governor of the stateof Alabama. He was an outspoken political leader who championed forthe segregation of African Americans in white establishments likeschools, hospitals and shopping centers. This paper will analyze thespeech of based on the legality ofAmerican legislations.
Thenatural law dictates that all human beings are equal before the eyesof God and no one should be oppressed or oppress the other simplybecause they deem themselves superior than the others. According toMartin Luther King’s speech, he asserted that once all minoritygroups in America were accepted, treated equally and granted equalrights as white Americans then the Constitution would be realizedwhere is states,
“Wehold these truths to be self-evident that all men are createdequal”(King,1980).
Naturallaws have been used to depict the sanctity of human life which wasthe essence of the speech by Martin Luther, who was a charismaticleader who stood for peaceful demonstrations throughout America(Jones& Connelly, 2014).Positive laws are defined as man-made legislations that mandate thepractice and enforcement of certain actions based on the legal rightsof a particular population group. George Wallace’s inaugural speechas the newly elected governor of Alabama, he asserted that Americawas a nation founded on the principles and laws of God. Positivelaws have shaped the Southern States like Alabama whereby whitesupremacy dominates every aspect of the state government (Rohler,2004).Natural laws are God-given which means that no human being,government entity has the right to deny any human being theirGod-given rights as articulated by Martin’s ‘IHave a Dream’ speech(King,1980).From this speech, Martin disregarded the essence of America’spositive laws that formed the basis of discrimination and segregationamong Americans because these laws supported white supremacy andoppression of minority groups like Asians, African Americans andHispanics.
TheAmerican judicial system was the foundation of the nation under theleadership of George Washington who is known as one of the ‘FoundingFathers’ of the United States. The philosophical approach of anindividual’s duty to obey the law should be based on theirconviction of whether their action or inaction is for the greatergood for the millions of people. Martin Luther King’s speech statedthat he had a dream where white brothers and sisters would hold handswith their counterparts of African heritage through the unity andbond of universal love. Slaves and slave masters would put asidetheir difference and forge forwards as a people birthed with the sameAmerican spirit that founded the great nation. The integration ofschools in Washington D.C. whereby white and black students learnedin the same class caused an uproar in the Southern States especiallyAlabama because there were riots and violence throughout the state.It’s due to this occurrence that George Wallace assured his fellow‘Alabamians’ such integration in social systems and structureswould never happen (Russell,2013).Through his inaugural speech was fully attended by white Americans,he assured all men, women and children of Caucasian descent that noviolence would befall them as a result of racial integration and theexcellence of white supremacy would remain intact. Martin Lutherstated that all African American groups and other Humanitarianorganizations seeking for recognition by the American governmentthrough the issuance of citizenship rights should pursue the endeavorthrough diplomatic and peaceful means. In his speech he stated,
“Wemust forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity anddiscipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerateinto physical violence.”(King,1980).
Thiswas a sign that he did not motivate Americans into a state ofviolence, but rather into an uplifted phenomenon of togetherness ashuman beings.
GeorgeWallace upheld the notion of harm to other as a principle ofjustification because he was an avid supporter of his infamous outcryof,
“Segregationtoday, Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever”(Alabama& Wallace, 1963)
Hisinaugural speech attracted national attention because it supportedthe segregation of Americans based on racial differences since hewanted to gain fame and popularity with the other Southern Statesthat supported white supremacy. However, Martin Luther King alwayssupported the peaceful demonstrations by African Americans who wantedto seek equal rights as other Americans. He was a revered biblicalteacher of the word of God and a human rights activist that promptedother protestant churches to condemn the oppression of the blackpeople (Holland,2009). Since George Wallace was in a powerful position to influence thestate laws of Alabama, his inaugural speech assured the whitepopulation that all leadership positions would be secured byCaucasians whether in the education, legal or health sectors. Hispaternalistic role as the governor of Alabama would influence thecourse of racial segregation in the Southern States because heassured everyone in attendance that he would restore Alabama’sglory as the state that produced prominent American personalitieslike George Washington, James Madison, George Mason and PatrickHenry. Martin Luther King implemented the aspect of autonomy throughhis speech whereby he motivated all people from all walks of life todemand for their rights as American citizens to access healthcare,education and other social services. From his speech he stated thatAmerica was ripe enough to accept the social justice of AfricanAmericans and other minority groups residing in the country. Inessence, Martin purported that the African American community waspast the oppression stage and that all African Americans should beallowed to pursue their individualistic ambitions withoutdiscrimination or suppression by the legal system. The morality ofMartin’s speech was based on the long suffering of minority groupswho have tirelessly dedicated their time and energy to actualizetheir American Dream through hard work and sacrifice. On thecontrary, George’s inaugural speech was white-oriented whereby thismoral obligation was to satisfy the needs and wants of whiteAmericans as was the stance in the Southern States during the 16thand 18thcenturies (Rohler,2004).
Inconclusion, both Martin Luther King and George Wallace are rememberedas two of the most outspoken American personalities. They shaped thecourse of the American social and legal system in the 1960s throughtheir public speeches and outcries which motivated American factionsto rise to the occasion of social change in the country.
Alabama.,&Wallace, G. C. (1963). Theinaugural address of Governor George C. Wallace, January 14, 1963,Montgomery, Alabama.Montgomery, Alabama.: publisher not identified.
Holland,L. J. (2009). Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.`s I have a dream speech in translation: Whatit really means.Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press.
Jones,C. B., & Connelly, S. (2014). Behindthe dream: The making of the speech that transformed a nation.New York: St. Martin`s Press.
King,M. L. (1980). Ihave a dream.
Rohler,L. E. (2004). GeorgeWallace.Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers.
Russell,J. (2013). Georgewallace`s 1963 inaugural address.S.l.: Book On Demand Ltd.