15 January 2015
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most revolutionary influences of the 20th Century. His passion and determination for race equality not only changed history, but paved the way for many other activists seeking rights and representation. During his lifetime, he inspired millions to fight for freedoms they never dreamed possible, and his death remains a testament to his dedication to peace.
It’s no wonder that professors love to assign essays about this controversial American hero. While it can seem a daunting task to undertake, writing a powerful essay about Martin Luther King, Jr. is actually much easier than it seems. With the right approach and a little personal investment, your professor will be blown away by the quality and depth of your Martin Luther King essay submission.
In many high schools and colleges, Martin Luther King Day is celebrated with essay contests that revolve around many of his incredible quotes. To start your essay off right, try looking up some of these well-known (or little-known) snippets to get the mental juices flowing:
“Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”
‘”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Connect It to Your Life
Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about so many important concepts that it is virtually impossible not to be personally affected by at least one. Review some of the main ideas that he fought and died for. Which ideas have your life (or the lives of those you love) been touched by? Tell those stories and then reflect on how Dr. King’s actions have helped you to be where you are today.
Some of Dr. King’s ideas to consider are:
People should not be judged based on their outward appearance, but by the “content of their character.”
Fear is the ultimate cause for hatred and violence.
Not standing up for what is right is just as bad as doing wrong.
Nonviolence is a powerful weapon.
Quality of life, not length of life, is what is important.
The creative and dedicated minority are the ones who change the world.
Another great way to get into your essay is by looking at the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. from a historical perspective. Pick out a few events that were pivotal in the life of Dr. King, or turn the last few days of his life into a narrative essay. In fact, you could get creative by writing a short story from the perspective of a close assistant or even the gunman who assassinated Dr. King. Just make sure that you use primary sources and good research skills to build your narrative upon.
It’s been almost 50 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In that time, we’ve seen racial integration and equality on an unprecedented scale. And yet, is there more work that needs to be done?
In this essay style, you need to take a look around and see the world through Dr. King’s eyes. What would he think of today’s music? Our current president? Current social and political activism efforts? Peruse the headlines and imagine what Dr. King would think about the Ferguson riots or the push for gay marriage rights equality. Then, write your essay from his perspective, using his own quotes to support your theories of how he would respond.
Put It Into Action
Instead of starting your essay on a piece of paper, why not begin something with your hands? For example, instead of just writing about Dr. King’s ideology, consider putting those ideas into action for a week. Take notes about how serving others made you feel. Explain the difficulties and benefits of reacting peacefully to people who don’t like you. When all the other students in your class are turning in the same rehashed information and opinions, you can be sharing your real-life experiences of putting Dr. King’s famous concepts into action – and completely blow your teacher away.
Are you assigned with Martin Luther King essay? Have some interesting ideas? Share anything with us in the comments below
Useful samples and examples: