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Socrates –> Martin Luther King Jr.

September 21, 2010

Although Socrates was unable to save himself with his methods of During the civil rights movement, his way of fighting against the system has been applied to other situation and carried out successfully. Justice was very far from being granted to those that were being oppressed and racially discriminated against and Martin Luther King Jr. sought to change this with peaceful protests and direct action. After reading Martin Luther Kings “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” it became clear to me that justice is a God-given right deserved by all people without question; however in order to do so everyone must give up some of their own freedom for everyone to remain free; during this time period no one was truly free.

Like Socrates, King Jr. felt that civil disobedience would be the most affect way to fight for his cause. Both advocated against unjust laws that hindered their societies. However, unlike Socrates, King had the support of millions. By applying Socrates’ ideals to the modern situation, King usurped the power of the masses and the government by picking away at their power a little at a time. Although to some, Socrates may have seemed arrogant and even clueless, King was able to utilize these concepts towards his goal of global justice and freedom.

Although Martin Luther King Jr, was often told to “wait for better time,” King felt that “wait” literally meant “never.” Rather than waiting, King fought against the laws that were unjust and oppressive. As an anti-violent activist, King put Socrates’ methods to the test by simply standing up against what he believed in, even if it meant dying for the cause. Both Martin Luther King and Socrates dies for their cause, and live on as martyrs for a cause that they were ever so certain was an issue that needed to be fixed as soon as possible.

Without the efforts of Socrates hundreds of years sooner, MLK may not have had the inspiration to go about these matters in the way that he did; whether Socrates was able to quick-fix his current situation becomes irrelevant when we are able to look at the total impact of his work and his lessons to the current day society.


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