Essay by Luke Foster
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King Jr
While I was talking with my support worker Yannick today, I had an idea
to write a book about the international civil rights movement with a trickle-down effect from America to around the world particularly in the foot steps of Martin Luther King Jr and his famous I have a dream speech in 1963. However, as I did more research, I realised that it was Mahatma Gandhi in India that employed non-violent resistance first to overcome colonialism and achieve India’s independent rule prior to world-war two.
Gandhi took leadership of the Congress in 1920 and began escalating demands until on 26 January 1930 the Indian National Congress declared the independence of India.
“I Have a Dream” is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist and Baptist ministerMartin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. In the speech, King called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was one of the most famous moments of the civil rights movement and among the most iconic speeches in American history.”
I feel this moment in American history wasn’t just a landslide for the civil rights in America but for people in similar circumstances around the world such as the indigenous civil rights movement in Australia particularly the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra on the lawn in front of parliament house in the year of my birth 1972.
There was also major change and upheaval in South Africa with the overthrowing of Apartheid lead by the activist then leader Nelson Mandela.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
There was also much upheaval in India with the civil rights movement to overthrow colonialism and British rule lead by Mahatma Gandhi. However, this was a precursor to other civil rights movements around the globe.
“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule. He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (from Sanskrit ‘great-souled, venerable’), first applied to him in South Africa in 1914, is now used throughout the world.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world. “
All these movements were separate and also connected and each spurring each other on and allowing what seemed to be impossible to become the possible with brave questioning of people and laws that oppressed people.
I will need to research this book a lot and it will take some time but, I enjoy research as much as writing.
I think when I research this book, I will work backwards starting with reading biographies about Barack Obama: Americas first African American President and Condoleezza Rice: Americas first female Secretary of State and African American. They came from opposite sides of politics but what connected them both was being African Americans who had never held these lofty positions.
“The essence of America- that which really unites us is not ethnicity or nationality or religion- it is an idea- and what an idea it is. That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.”
I love this quote by Rice as it shows the great impact her role played for America and particularly African American women getting more equality.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”
I love this Obama quote and feel it is as iconic as excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr’s I have a dream speech in 1963.
In conclusion I feel so much has been achieved internationally with civil rights movements globally but so much more can be achieved and to achieve this Hollywood also plays an important part. For example, I watched the movie Hidden Numbers earlier this week about African American women who worked for NASA doing the complex math to put the first American into space. Last night I watched the movie The Help on Disney Plus and it showed what the problems were in race relations in Mississippi during the start of the civil rights movement in America and also the solutions to these problems.