Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther KingIt is early months of 1963 in the southern city of Birmingham Alabama. A city that lies in civil unrest and bitterly divided. A city to which African Americans march, hold protests and sit-ins in an effort to gain equal rights. They are met with brutal opposition in the form of police officers, attack dogs and water hoses. During this time of utter chaos two separate civil rights leaders speak out on their beliefs. Reverend Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King both speak on the issues of violence, the media and the will of the Negro people as a whole in a effort to win support for the African American Community.
“I saw the system naked. I saw it without pose. I saw it face to face for all of its brutality and its ugliness, and the depth of its venom… I made a commitment to fight for the rest of my life. (Jackson 344)” Jesse Jackson saw fighting as “the only way they would listen (Jackson 2)”. Violence was something that Jackson felt came with the territory. For the people that were there to stop the marchers as Jackson felt “could not have cared less” for the lives of the African American marchers (Jackson 2). Martin Luther King on the other hand felt rather differently on the subject of violence. King felt that it was wrong to fight back for it was “wrong to use immoral acts to attain moral ends (King 9)” King felt that the opposition, those trying to oppress the black man were evil in their manner. He felt that by allowing his protestors to fight back against the dogs, water hoses and police officers he was allowing them to “stoop to their level of ignorance” something that he did not want to see happen (King 8). King felt that “there [was] no greater treason than to do the wrong deed for the right reason (King 8)”
The media is a point on to which both Jackson and King agree on. Jackson seemed to put it best in the lines “ You see the media has more power than the politicians who make laws, or the bankers who make money or the police who carry weapons. Because the media has the appraisal power and it determines the worth of things.” Jackson also felt that the media was important because it “embarrassed” white people to see the beating of a black man to the point of unconsciousness all because he was trying to obtain a seat at a white restaurant (Jackson 333).