Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr

NelsonMandela and Martin Luther King, Jr

MartinLuther King, Jr is respected globally as a civil rights leaderdedicated to equality and fair treatment of people from all races. Hegrew up when the laws of segregation prohibited black Americans fromdoing what the whites were allowed to do such as visiting certainparks, museums and restaurant. On the other hand, Nelson Mandela iswell-known for his journey to freedom after 27 years of imprisonmentand later elected as the first black president in South Africa.Mandela helped to end apartheid by fighting racism, thus portrayed asa symbol of freedom. Both men brought many social and politicalchanges as a result of their actions. This paper will analyze some ofthe significant changes brought by both men in the society.

MartinLuther King, Jr

MartinLuther King, Jr committed himself to promoting social justice. Kingfocused on peace, equality, and non-violence for all citizens. Thefirst significant change that occurred as a result of his actionsincludes reforms in the American segregated system. This was donethrough his fight for civil rights by leading protests that opposedunjust systems. Segregation in America was prevalent all over, but hepressured the congress to establish the civil rights act of 1964 thatmade illegal racial discrimination in all public places andnecessitated equal opportunities for African-American in employmentand education opportunities (Asselin, 2014). Later, Martin LutherKing, Jr forced congress to pass another act known as the votingrights acts of 1965 which did away with laws that prohibited African-Americans from voting in public elections. Through his words heaffected many lives since he was a superb public speaker and allpeople globally, whether black or white listened to him. Furthermore,his speech revolved around black Americans economic and politicalissues. Simply, Martin Luther King, Jr helped to win civil rights forminorities and racial equality in America, and because of his actionssegregation or discrimination in America is illegal (Ansbro, 2000).

Secondly,Martin Luther King, Jr promoted democratic socialism by fighting thecapitalist economy. He advocated for restructuring of the society asa whole and campaigned for an economic and social bill of rights thatwould guarantees all citizens’ full employment, an income andlow-income housing. Additionally, the bill of right promotedadvancement of Black Nationalism and education. Through his variousspeeches and writings, he advised the African-American to continuebeing persistent in the equality struggle since he understood welltheir situation in America and believed that through unity, educationand religion, the African-Americans could improve their status in themost effective way. Eventually, through protests the African-Americanalmost attained similar educational opportunities as their whitecounterparts in America (Manheimer, 2005).


NelsonMandela can be described as great leaders in the history of theworld. He became famous for acting as a unifying force which broughtpolitical changes in South Africa. The first, changes as a result ofhis actions was ending apartheid in the nation (Limb, 2008).Apartheid in South Africa led to the enforcement of restrictions thatpromoted discrimination on the black ethnic groups. In addition, thewhite government in the nation had passed laws that prevented theblacks from gaining power as well as attaining wealth. As a result,all the black people faced humiliations and lacked workingopportunities or health care services. However, through the AfricanNational Congress (ANC) movement, Nelson Mandela together with otherleaders fought for freedom and influenced abolition of the apartheidregime which had led to displacing of millions of Africans from theirhomes. On the other hand, social apartheid put into effect prohibitedinterracial marriages. However, Mandela got motivated and energizedby those draconian measures and led multiple protests that saw himget imprisoned for 27 years. Mandela lasting impact can bedemonstrated in the steadily desegregation of education and sports,abolition of apartheid (Crompton, 2006).

Secondly,Mandela helped to orchestrate the birth of democracy in South Africanin the year 1994 after he took over the presidency. Though hisleadership, he promoted reconciliation and national unity in thenation. As a result this helped to further good governance where thepublic administration upheld values such as transparency,accessibility and impartiality. Clearly, before his efforts thenation was not democratic and as a result, South Africa had beenlisted in embargo records. However, due to his actions, South Africais today referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” where culture andethnicity as well as languages reflect the history of the nation(Crompton, 2006).


Inconclusion, although the struggle for equality is not complete, thesetwo leaders helped to improve the overall status of the blacksthrough the many social and political changes as a result of theiractions. Prior to the civil rights movements, most whites deprivedthe black community employment opportunities and education throughdiscrimination. However, throughout, the years those prominentleaders enhanced black nationalism ideas and education by compelledimplementation of affirmative action that led to opening of myriaddoors for the advancement of the blacks.


Ansbro,J. J. (2000). MartinLuther King, Jr: Nonviolent strategies and tactics for social change.Lanham, Md: Madison Books.

Asselin,K. C. (2014). MartinLuther King Jr: Civil rights leader.Minneapolis, MN : ABDO Publishing Company

Crompton,S. W. (2006). NelsonMandela: Ending Apartheid in South Africa.New York: Infobase Pub.

Limb,P. (2008). NelsonMandela: A biography.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Manheimer,A. S. (2005). MartinLuther King Jr: Dreaming of equality.Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.