Essays on the Theme of Heroism

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela

by Phoebe from Mill Valley

A hero is someone who has ideas that could make life better for another human in any way and has the courage to act on these ideas.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was an activist for black rights. He is a hero to me because he had a dream that life could be better for African Americans and he worked to make this dream come true. He headed the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, where he preached non-violence and peaceful protests. He went through this and more, reaping the rewards and accepting the consequences.

For his extraordinary contributions to the African American community he received a Nobel Peace Prize and the admiration and respect of many Americans. Unfortunately not everyone felt this way. Some people who were set in their ways and were comfortable in their prosperity resented him very much. It was one of these people, James Earl Ray, that assassinated him on April 4, 1968 while he was attending a black garbage workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. In my eyes Martin Luther King, Jr. was a hero because of all he did for the rights of Black Americans.

It used to be that black South Africans had no right to vote and practically no rights at all. Nelson Mandela wanted a place where blacks had as many rights as whites. Because of this, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), even though it was considered treasonous. In June 1964, his activities with the ANC were abruptly stopped and he was sentenced to life in prison for treason. This type of courage with no regret astounds me and seems to demand respect and attention.

In 1990 Mandela was released from prison after government officials no longer banned the ANC. After his release, Mandela assumed leadership of the ANC. IN 1991, the government withdrew the last of the laws which segregated blacks and whites. In 1994 he was elected in the first democratic election of south Africa. He was the first black president of South Africa, Promising multiracial government and to reverse the economic and social problems the country had because of segregation. Nelson Mandela, a human rights activist stood up for all black people no matter the consequences. He took all that people could throw at him and in the end he still came back not only to help blacks but everyone in South Africa by becoming president. It is this kind of forgiveness and persistence that makes Nelson Mandela a hero to me. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela are both heroes to me because of their courageous actions and efforts to help the black community. These two great men both worked for practically the same thing but of course there were many differences. For example MLK was not only a Human rights leader but also a spiritual leader which helped him reach many people in many different ways unlike Nelson Mandela. Another big difference is that in South Africa the majority of the population is black and this is not so in the USA. Also blacks in the US were allowed to vote and in South Africa they weren't. I only wish I had this marvelous ability they do to work so well with in their situation.

Page created on 5/31/2012 10:54:26 AM

Last edited 8/25/2018 11:50:12 PM

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