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Martin Luther King's Three Ways of Meeting Oppression

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The purpose of the piece is to provide a highly personal view of the situation that was facing the Negroes at a time when the blacks were feeling oppressed due to a racial segregation policy that made them politically and socially inferior to the white majority. While political and personal, King presented evidence for his position using philosophical, religious and literary examples, using inductive and deductive reasoning. In the first way of combating oppression, he cited a Biblical account, a literary authority, Shakespeare, and an anecdotal reference to show how acquiescence may be the easy way out, but not the right way to stand up to injustice.

The piece belongs to social or political philosophy as can be gleaned for book’ s title, Strive Toward Freedom. It uses religious and moral values, especially referring to Christian values to put forward a cause for freedom using non-violence resistance. Furthermore, he enlisted the philosophy of Hegel in which path of non-violent resistance is equated with the dialectics of history, one in which the extremes of passivity and violence paves the way for active but nonviolent resistance to evil.

The most significant conclusion that the author draws is that the fight for freedom is not a battle between the oppressed and the oppressor but a common fight against a system that fosters oppression and injustice. In this way, King successfully united all those who value freedom and justice, whatever race or social or political groups. The strategy of the author is not strictly research-oriented as he uses selective examples to put forward his views and at times there is no clear reference (for example in the first way of meeting oppression, he uses the Bible and literary citation from Shakespeare, though it is not clear from which specific work it was cited from).

Moreover, in his line “ History is cluttered with the wreckage of nation that failed to follow this command” , there were no specific examples given to illustrate this point. Alternatives were given in the first and two ways of meeting oppression, but they were merely shown to support and further prop up the main theory of the piece.    

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