Obtaining Objective Truth in Regards to Martin Luther King’s Role in the Fight for Equality in the United States Research Paper

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


Martin Luther King is one of the most celebrated human rights fighters who fought for the second liberation in the United States. Historians and journalists have written a lot about his life and the contributions he made towards the fight against racial discrimination in this country.

Martin Luther King came out strongly to fight for the rights of the blacks and other minority races in this country when it was clear that the time for equality had come (Hermann 94). Hermann says that the credit given to Martin Luther was well deserved because of the devotion he had given to that fight.

Although many human right activists had come before him and the others came after, he is generally considered as an icon in the fight against racial discrimination and injustices that were very common during his era. Sitkoff (55) attributes his popularity to his eloquence and his level of knowledge. He made very moving speeches that touched the hearts of people. The fact that he took the non-violence approach in his confrontation also played part in his growing popularity.

King became even more popular after his assassination as many linked his death to his fight against racial discrimination. However, there has been a question of whether he deserved the attention that was given to him or not. This research is focused on determining if objective truth is possible to obtain in regard to Martin Luther King’s role in the fight for equality in the United States.

Historians and Scholar’s View of Martin Luther King’s Role in the Fight for Equality in the United States

Historians and scholars have made a lot of contributions to discovering the life of Martin Luther King and his role in the fight for equality in the United States. According to Helg (67), King was one of the people who made massive contribution to the fight against racial discrimination.

He made moving speeches and engaged in high level talks with various members of the society in an attempt to end the discrimination. During his fight to end the discrimination, he was generally seen as a man who was sincere to his people and was always focused on achieving the main agenda of equality for all the members of the society.

Baldwin (112) says that although many other human rights crusaders came before and after him, most of them were hypocrites who were only interested in achieving benefits for themselves. The scholar further says that other activists who were before him were majorly interested in gaining fame and financial affluence. Most of them were even used by the government and other powerful organizations to jeopardize the fight for freedom. However, King gave his life in order to achieve the most important objective of equality for everyone.

Martin Luther King made a lot of contribution in the fight for the second liberation in the country (Hermann 94). This scholar says that before King could rise to fame as a human rights crusader, he had made several sacrifices as an individual interested in achieving equality in the society.

Although he had received a good education and secured a well-paying job, King liked associating himself with the poor members of the society who were the most affected by the social discrimination in the society. This could be partially what made him look like a hero. Most of the other people of his class preferred leading a quite life of affluence. However, King did not consider such life necessary when other members of the society were suffering because of discrimination.

Sitkoff (31) notes that Martin Luther King was a hero who did not fear of confronting the mighty members of the society who strongly believed in racial superiority. He says that King was always ready to face them and tell them that it would be a better place if everyone were given equal rights and opportunities. There were cases where King faced a number of threats before he was finally assassinated, but he did not relent in the fight for equality.

The fact that he was finally assassinated is a clear demonstration that the threats he had been receiving were real (Hermann 98). People who were not pleased by his conviction that there is need for equality were ready to do everything to stop him. He knew that these threats were real.

He was aware that some clandestine groups were planning his murder because of the movement he had started and was leading in this country (Helg 89). However, this did not stop him. This made him even more convinced that there was need to fight for freedom of the blacks and other races that were discriminated against in that society.

He always insisted that it would be better to sacrifice his life for the sake of liberation of million of others who were suffering from the heat of discrimination (King 67). This explains why Martin Luther went on with his fight for equal rights of Black Americans. Of all the prominent people in the United States who championed for equality, King stands above the rest because of his sincerity, and the conviction he gave towards the fight for equality for all the Americans (Hermann 56).

Can objective truth be obtained in regard to Martin Luther King’s role in the fight for equality in the United States?

This is one of the most important questions that many scholars have been asking about the role played by King in the fight for equality in the United States. The above short analysis has given a general picture of what historians and journalists have been reporting about Martin Luther King Junior. King has gained a lot of fame after his death. When he was assassinated, many people attributed his death to his fight against racial discrimination (Hermann 56).

He was therefore seen as a martyr who died in order to liberate other members of the society from suffering. Death made him be associated with success that was later achieved in the fight against discrimination. Begag (90) says that this could have been the reason why many historians and scholars have been full of praises when writing about his life. According to this scholar, there is a possibility that in most of these historical accounts, much has been ignored in regard to King’s life, especially issues that could be considered defamatory.

It may be very challenging to obtain the objective truth about the contribution of King in the fight for equality in the United States because most of his contributions were made after his death. Most of the historians and journalists have been highly dependant on his moving speeches when recounting his contribution in the fight against discrimination.

In the short analysis done above, there may be given an impression that there were no other human rights crusaders who championed for equality in this country but Martin Luther King. Nothing can be further from the truth. There were other activists who made serious contributions to that fight, but their ideas have been ignored by the historians. The deeds made by King could have overshadowed them, but they made remarkable contributions that should not be ignored.

Some scholars believe that it is possible to obtain some objective truth in regard to Martin Luther King’s role in the fight for equality in the United States. Several historians and journalists have taken time to dig into the life history of King. Most of their reports have been very objective in reporting about the activities that King engaged in before his assassination (Hermann 56).

Although most of the available reports differ in the approach taken in analyzing the life history of King, they concur in the specific roles that King played in fighting for equality. King’s life history has been retold, and as Cohen (26) notes, at some points, there have been some distortions based on the interests of people interpreting his contributions.

The fact that King died because of his human rights activism earned him a lot of respect and admiration among the historians and journalists who have reported about his contribution towards equality. Many people have considered looking at his activities from just one angle – the positive impacts he had on this fight. Following his assassination, the American society experienced massive reduction on racial discrimination.

Begag (87) also holds that objective truth can be obtained in regard to Martin Luther King’s role in the fight for equality. This scholar says that King made massive contributions to fighting for racial equality in the country, and this has widely been reported by historians and journalists.

Most of the materials available from many historians and journalists have extensively discussed his positive impact on fighting racial injustices. King has been seen as a saint not only in the United States, but also in other parts of the world. The late Nelson Mandela and King have been seen as the icons in championing for equality. For this reason, most of the readers are always interested in knowing how King participated in the war, what speeches he delivered, which challenges he faced, and how he managed to overcome them.

The fact that he was assassinated on a day when he had planned to join a group of poor Americans to champion for their rights will always convince people that he was a true hero in this fight. As Fairclough (49) notes, this made most people associate him with the success in fighting racial discrimination. Given that readers are always looking for his positive contributions, historians and journalists have been reporting on positive events associated with him.

The most appropriate time of recording a real contribution made by King towards the fight for equality would have been immediately after his demise. This would have been done successfully if the scholars involved in recording these accounts took an impartial position in their work. However, the society was full of support for him, and any slight attempt to publish any negativity about him would have been seen as a betrayal in the fight for equality in the USA.

The society was full of praises for King and sympathy for his family, and for that reason, many of the scholars avoided negative comments about him. Most of the historians were carried away by the admiration the society had for the King following his assassination (Jadueson 89).

However, researchers who may be interested in understanding his actual contributions to the fight for equality can easily get to know the objective truth. King was born in 1929 and died in 1968. The main part for the fight for equality in this country was played from the late 1950s to 1968 when he was assassinated. Some people who lived in that era are still alive, and they can help in finding the truth about his contributions.

People who are interested in discovering the truth of him can easily do so by conducting objective research on his life and work. The specific activities that King engaged in can be documented during the research on his life. Using available documents about his life may be the first step in finding the objective truth about him. For instance, it would be interesting to understand the reason why the Federal Bureau of Investigation closely monitored his movement though he was not a criminal.

The reports made in regard to his activities before his assassination would offer invaluable source of information about the real contributions he made in the fight for equality. The newspaper reports and other periodicals of that period may offer insight into his true contributions. This is so because at this time, judgments of the journalists were not clouded by the sadness caused by his sudden brutal murder.

These documents would report on the activities he engaged in as soon as they took place. The next step would be to engage those who actively got involved in his activities in one way or another. Some scholars, especially those who were close to him, can also help in telling the truth about his activities in fighting racial discrimination. For this reason, scholars who are determined to know the objective truth can easily obtain it through research.

Some scholars have argued that it may not be easy to achieve the objective truth in regard to the contribution of Martin Luther King in the fight for equality in the United States. The contributions made by King in fighting racial discrimination are great (Hermann 94). However, the magnitude of his movements has been magnified that it becomes very difficult to extract the truth.

This scholar says that in his fight for human rights and racial equality, King engaged in various activities, some of which may not pass as a war against racial discrimination. In the 1960s, America was involved in Cold War with the USSR, especially it concerned ideology.

Most Americans believed in capitalism, while the USSR was strongly pushing for communism. Although there was a general belief that government of the United States was not keen fighting racial discrimination, it was not justifiable for King to associate with the communists who were generally seen as enemies of the country.

Shah (78) says that King accepted finance from the communists in his movement, people who were considered enemies of this country. However, such engagements are not always given priority by historians who have been writing about his life and the civil rights activities. This is lack of objectivity in their reporting. King was a normal human being, bound to make some normal human mistakes.

When reporting about his contribution, it would be appropriate to mention both the positive and the negative impacts he made in this fight. This way, it becomes easy to obtain the objective truth about what he did to help this society abolish racial discrimination.

Manheimer (45) notes that it may be very complex to get the objective truth about the contributions King made towards the fight for equality. According to this scholar, most of the success story about the fight for equality in this society during his era has always been associated with him. This is so even in cases where other human rights crusaders played leading roles in the fight.


It is clear from the above analysis that Martin Luther King made a lot of contribution to fighting against racial discrimination. Many scholars have claimed that it is difficult to obtain the objective truth about the work made by King in the fight for equality in the country.

While this claim may have some facts, the truth is that a detailed research into the life of King would easily reveal the objective truth about his contributions to this fight. With a detailed research done on his activities, it is possible to obtain this truth.

Works Cited

Baldwin, Lewis. To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992. Print.

Begag, Azouz. Ethnicity & Equality: France in the Balance. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. Print.

Cohen, Warren. Profiles in Humanity: The Battle for Peace, Freedom, Equality, and Human Rights. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. Print.

Fairclough, Adam. Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995. Print.

Helg, Aline. Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. Print.

Hermann Top of FormMubetM, Harvard. The Long Struggle for Racial Equality in America. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. Print.

Hermann, Spring. The Struggle for Equality: Women and Minorities in America. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishers, 2006. Print.

Jadueson, Troy. Becoming King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Making of a National Leader. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Print. Top of Form

King, Martin. The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. Print.

Manheimer, Ann. Martin Luther King Jr: Dreaming of Equality. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2005. Print.

Shah, Ruchir. Martin Luther King, Jr. Barrington: EZ Comics, 2007. Print.

Sitkoff, Harvard. Toward Freedom Land: The Long Struggle for Racial Equality in America. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. Print.

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