Martin Luther King Jr Essay
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
was a man of destiny, a missionary of peace who had risen to the lofty heights of spiritual awareness, a towering hero and historical role model whose mission in life was to serve others and one of only a few genuine prophets produced by Western Civilisation. His wisdom, words, commitment, deeds and dreams for a new cast of life were intertwined with the noblest of human aspirations; there is nothing in his life that was not full of hope. He was a charismatic figure who attracted people by the magnificence of his concepts, and the brilliance of his insights.Many people believe that there are no direct connections between the behaviour of an entrepreneur and the behaviour of a human rights activist but there is evidence suggesting that there are common links between both contrasting entities.
Like any successful entrepreneur King demonstrated the attributes that went a long way to help change the lives of millions of people. There were a few active successful entrepreneurs in the era of King but their impact was minimal when measured to King’s contribution to America, King was an agent of change that shaped a nation.There are many attributes and characteristics of entrepreneurs and they are argued across national boundaries however, successful entrepreneurs share the same characteristics regardless of national boundaries, many of these characteristics can be applied to and were exercised by Martin Luther King. Many people including academics argue that King did not act entrepreneurially or did not possess any entrepreneurial characteristics and attributes and that he was just an activist fighting a losing cause.
I will try to dismiss some of these notions and put forward my case that King did posses and applied many entrepreneurial characteristics. Some argue that King was just a cult role model who developed a cult following on par with the likes of Elvis Presley (another king) but it can be proved that King shaped an entire country and had influences on the social and economic fibres of America and King’s ideologies have stood the tests of time, he is still celebrated and recognised today. Analysis of King’s environmentSince the birth of the American nation race has divided the country, the abolition of slavery was a catalyst of the American Civil War. The increasing black minority of America have always felt the brunt of race hatred, escalating to its peak in the 1950s and 60s. During this time segregation was the norm and anti-Semitic groups such as the Ku Klux Klan was striking fear into the souls of the black citizens of America. The environment at that moment in time in America’s history was hard for any black citizen to endure, during this period there seemed to be new hope on the horizon and new positive changes were about to happen.
During 1955, Montgomery civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to obey the city’s rules mandating segregation on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King as president of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). As the boycott continued during 1956, King gained national prominence as a result of his exceptional oratorical skills and personal courage however, King was convicted along with other boycott leaders on charges of conspiring to interfere with the bus company’s operations.Despite these attempts to suppress the movement, Montgomery bus were desegregated in December 1956, after the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional. From King’s observations he knew something had to be done perhaps King’s success was borne out of frustration. During this period King and most black Americans had to suffer race hate, this hate took the form of segregation, bombing of black property, social exclusion and even death.
1955 was a landmark in King’s life as he officially started his activist campaigns in this year and the case of Rosa Parks served as a catalyst.We have all seen the documentaries and camera footage of what the black American citizens had to endure. At Central High School (previously all-white) in Little Rock, Ark. , 1,000 paratroopers were called by President Eisenhower to restore order and escort nine black students to school in 1957. Two killed, many injured in riots as James Meredith is enrolled as the first black at the University of Mississippi in 1962.
We can all recall seeing this footage, which reflected the true goings on at this moment of time in America’s history and the startling fact is that it was not too long ago when this took place.King’s innovative, creative and imaginative thinking King knew he had to use creative thinking to change the current environment. Martin Luther King was an innovator and a human right activist. “Whitfield (1975) offers a useful distinction between creative people, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Creative people are usually seen as people who generate ideas, innovators as those who take an idea and develop it into something tangible, and entrepreneurs as those who take the product to market or implement the practice. ” (Jane Henry 1992: p6) This statement can be applied to King.King’s enterprising behaviour and activities did not concentrate on profit making or building a business empire but concentrated more on human rights, just because enterprising behaviour can’t be seen, it doesn’t mean it is not there. King was imaginative, “Dr Martin Luther King had a dream and rose to greatness, nothing happens unless we dream first’.
” (Alison Morrison 1998: p64) The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created and it prohibited racial discrimination in public places and called for equal opportunity in employment and education for African Americans.In 1965 congress passed another bill The Voting Rights Act, The Voting Rights Act rid states of all laws prohibiting African Americans from casting their vote in all public elections. The introduction of these acts was achieved largely by King’s innovative, creative, imaginative and inventive enterprising activities. King possessed a low need for status; his need for status was met through achievement and creativity not through material possessions that is commonly associated with people’s perceptions of entrepreneurs. King’s new creative way of thinking lead to the ground braking case: Brown vs.
Board of Education, The U. S. Supreme Court bans segregation in public schools in 1958, King was central to this case and took all the plaudit but he dismissed it all modestly and he applauded the creative new minds of the African American race. King’s innovations lead him to the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964. King’s personality Martin Luther King, he had an enormous influence on the desegregation of the United States in the 1950s and 60s. He had arguably the largest impact of any civil rights leader of his time.
King had a fearless determination that helped him capture the interest of a nation.One of King’s personality characteristics was his aggressiveness; he pushed and lobbied for the better treatment of the black population. King’s aggressive personality has common links with entrepreneurship some entrepreneurs are aggressive in behaviour (Rupert Murdoch). King had an abstract and conceptual mind, entrepreneurs have superior conceptual ability; this helps entrepreneurs identify relationships in complex situations.
Chaos does not bother them because they can conceptualise order and a solution, problems are quickly identified and solutions offered.King’s enterprising personality and human rights activities helped to transform modern American businesses, segregation at work and places of education became a thing of the past and soon the black population of America had equal working rights and conditions but, it did take time to arrive. King believed in a vision and futurism which are both distinct enterprise characteristics, King’s visions could be easily remembered by the words “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed” (Martin Luther King 1964: p154).King was self-confident and was always in control, findings showed that as long as entrepreneurs were in control, they were relentless in pursuit of their goals. If they lost control, they quickly lost interest in the undertaking. King was in control at all times and millions could depend upon his self-confidence and control these were two of the most important elements of King’s personality.
King also demonstrated a realistic outlook; he knew that there was a constant need to know the status of things. He was idealistic, honest and acted with straightforward abruptness and he expected others around him to act the same.King had a sense of urgency; a majority of entrepreneurs have a never-ending sense of urgency to do something, this corresponds with a high energy level. Inactivity makes enterprising people impatient, King’s level of urgency and energy was an integral part of his personality and success.
King’s perseverance and persistence Another entrepreneurial characteristic that King possessed was perseverance and persistence. “Entrepreneurs are persistent. They’re individuals who can keep at things despite of setbacks” (Tropman ; Morningstar 1989: p7).King was repeatedly knocked back with his beliefs and enterprising visions, he and his black minority followers were always ill treated but he learnt to stay cool, He once said, “We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with non-violence..
.. We must meet hate with love” (Martin Luther King 1964: p207). This is a good example of perseverance and leadership, he led his mass following to tolerate and act humanly, eventually patience paid off congress passed civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King and his followers showed patience and urgency in the face of adversity.King demonstrated emotional stability; good entrepreneurs and leaders have the stability to handle stress from business and from personal areas in their lives. Setbacks are seen as challenges and do not discourage them.
King openly demonstrated emotional stability in order to persevere in his mission and work. King’s emotions got tested on numerous occasions; on January 26, 1956 King’s was arrest and jailed for driving at 30 m. p. h.
in a 25 m. p. h. zone, three days later King’s house was bombed. King thrived and persevered in the face of adversity. King’s leadership and influenceLeadership, “The literature on leadership typically argues that they have visionary capacity, are good at team building and team playing, are self analytical and good at self learning, have mental agility and ‘constructive restlessness’ while also being able to concentrate for long periods, and are self directed and self confident” (G.
Johnson and K. Scholes 1999: p530).My view is that King was a very good leader; King inspired millions of others and led mass demonstrations in many communities culminated in a march on August 28, 1963, that attracted more than 250,000 protesters to Washington, D. C.
he addressed the marchers from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the images of this speech still remain imbedded in peoples minds today including my own. Martin Luther King was the spearhead of a new movement that was lead by others and not just by King. King did demonstrate a need to control and direct. This can be applied to a majority of entrepreneurs who prefer environments where they have maximum authority and responsibility and do not work well in traditionally structured organisations.
This is not about power, good practicing entrepreneurs have a need to create and achieve by having control over events and this can be applied to King, he was not a power monger hell bent on having total control of a new movement. King involved, controlled and directed others around him to achieve goals. King had comprehensive awareness, like King any good entrepreneur has a comprehensive awareness of a total situation and he or she is aware of all the ramifications involved in a decision, King’s decisions plated a major role in his success.King also used an objective approach; people who take an objective approach to personal relationships are more concerned with the performance and accomplishment of others than with feelings. They keep their distance psychologically and concentrate on the effectiveness of operations, this goes to show how efficient and dedicated to the cause King was, no outside interference will get in his way of success. King was not just an influence to other people he was influenced himself.
King visited India in 1959 he had a lifelong admiration for Mohandas K. Gandhi, and credited Gandhi’s passive resistance techniques for his civil rights successes.