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Martin Luther King Jr. Research Papers

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  • Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta.
  • King lived in Atlanta until he had finished college.
  • The Atlanta that he grew up in was a place of ferment and had, unlike rural Georgia, certain liberal white enclaves—in colleges and in the labor movement--that favored the growth of better race relations and which intermingled with members of the Black community. 
  • King grew up in the Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta, a neighborhood which was a Black ghetto but one that was culturally vibrant and thriving.

King’s father, a pastor, was able to provide the family with an austere but secure and comfortable life and he seems to have been a good role model in that he inculcated respect for education and taught his children that “The church was the path to morality and immortality.”  In terms of community, and family, Martin Luther, Jr. was a fortunate man.  However, we should note that his early years were hardly idyllic. Frady states that his father sometimes inflicted harsh corporal punishment, and that King encountered Southern racism head-on.  He quit one job because the foreman habitually called him “nigger”.

In 1948, having graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Martin Luther King, Jr. was accepted at Crozer Seminary, an integrated Baptist school in Pennsylvania.  It was a Crozer that he became acquainted with the work of Mahatma Gandhi.  It was also at Crozer that he began to show a pattern of excellence.  He was a fine student and, upon graduating, won a scholarship.  In 1951 he entered Boston University’s PhD program in Systematic Theology.  King also met and married Coretta Scott while he was in Boston, and, in Fairclough’s words “delved more deeply into modern philosophy and theology.”  He was not, however, at this stage in his career, greatly interested in politics and political problems. Deats notes, however, that, while King was offered academic and pastoral positions outside the South, he chose to begin his career in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1955, after he had taken up his position in Montgomery, he received word that his doctoral dissertation had been accepted and that his PhD had been awarded.

Throughout history, statesmen have made numerous speeches over a variety of Martin Luther King Jr.s. While many of these speeches were informative to the citizens of that day, a few of these have become famous for their universal meaning throughout time. As such, the words of a few have greatly influenced the lives and feelings of many. Martin Luther King Jr. Particular phrases from these famous speeches become part of the knowledge or wisdom of a particular generation, with some lasting beyond that period. Unfortunately, research regarding the impact of such speeches has not been forthcoming. However, there are numerous case studies in which individuals report the influence of certain speeches or specific periods. No doubt speeches by such notables as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., have left their mark on those who have heard them. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of Martin Luther King’s speech making skills on individuals.

Perhaps, King’s most famous speech was that of “I have a dream.” While the purpose of this speech was to protest the “Jim Crow” laws of the south and the existence of discrimination of blacks throughout the United States, it has universal appeal to individuals “who have ever felt the singe of discrimination”. Consequently, there are many individual case reports of people who have felt that certain of King’s words have moved them in different ways and directions in their lives.

One Martin Luther King Jr. term paper suggests that listening to King’s mesmerizing words in his “I have a dream” speech changed his life.  He says, “that speech was both a judgment and a source of hope and redemption.” This aspect that was so important was not that white people were being accused of prejudice and discrimination but that all people were given hope and a method by which they could change these wrong.  At the same time, he notes that many people, however, did have this same experience.  But these were individuals who could not conceptualize changes to the basic philosophies of the separation of people.

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