American Culture in Transition

The history of any civilization is dotted with the effects of struggle against actual and perceived oppression. America is no exception. As written in the pages of history, men who have risen above the contemporary issues were sometimes the target for assassination. Among them, Martin Luther king Jr., Malcolm X and John F Kennedy. The zeal with which they tackled issues of their concern lined them up for their eventualities.

Draper (2002) denotes that Malcolm X grew in destitute conditions after losing the caring presence of both parents as a teenager. After experiencing the hustle and bustle of life, his inborn oratory skills posted him into the limelight as an advocate for the oppressed. His passion carved a conviction that Blacks were superior to Whites, a phrase that featured in most of his speeches. According to Lawrence (1995), his contribution to African American heritage is without reprieve. In his speeches, Malcolm X articulated the complaints by most African Americans despite the radical tendencies. Malcolm X met his death on February 21, 1965 courtesy of distraught members of the Black Muslim followers who accused him of defecting from his support for black supremacy.

Contrary to the conviction of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., who existed in the same era, was opposed to discrimination of any caliber (Melanson, 1989). His point of view was based on the premise that Whites should treat Blacks as equal human beings (Ching, 2002). By dwelling on human right, King expressed his hopes for a dawn of equality in America. Through his advocacy, King secured significant success in civil right thereby enabling more African Americans to achieve their potential. King advocated for peaceful persuasion of the authorities for recognition of the right of the black people (Ching, 2002).

As articulated by Fetzer (1998), Kennedy, who enjoyed a successful career in the armed forces, joined politics owing to his background. His success in politics came because of his proposition that Americans should strife to make positive contributions to their countries instead of expecting the contrary. As a president of the US, he empowered the citizenry to excel on a global scale (The Warren Commission Report, 2007). At the backdrop of global war, Kennedy embarked on a public relations spree by mending the broken ties with the Soviet Union, Cuba and other countries whose relationship with the US was strained. Through economic empowerment of developing countries, Kennedy laid a foundation for greater world cooperation with the US at the fore step.

The assassination of Kennedy, who was president of the US, had monstrous effect on the livelihoods of Americans as postulated by Knight (2007). The report by the Warren commission, constituted to investigate the issue contented that the assassins bullet was the sole reason for death. However, due to the nature of the assassination, doubts still linger on the motive behind the killing. The conspiracy theorists echo the message of a helping hand (Lawrence, 1995).

Race and equality were the main issues dotting the conviction of the three individuals discussed above. As observed by Fischer (2006), passion overtook the message for which they stood in the way thereby limiting their ability to succeed. However, today, their contribution to success of the propagation of human right is unquestionable. Their dreams have been achieved with the US rising above most racial issues that were contentious then. Inequality among the racial divide has greatly sufficed culminating in the inauguration of a black president. Global cooperation is visible in all corners of the world with democracy prevailing in most political establishments.


The past shapes the future. As observed from the struggle of the Kennedy, King and Malcolm, success does not come on a silver platter. The sacrifices borne by our predecessors lay a foundation for the cultural harmony present in society. Therefore, humanity should strife to rise above any prejudicial segregation based on characteristics beyond the control of humankind.

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