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Essay: ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ and ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’

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In these two articles, ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ and ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail,’ they both are about fighting for civil right and social change due to the unequal treatment of people based on gender and race. It is very common in the past American society since the racial discrimination and gender inequality have a huge impact on millions of people lives for more than two hundred years. Even though those people who suffered from racial and gender prejudice have fought for ending the discrimination and inequality many times throughout American history, it is not easy and smooth. In fact, fighting for social change must have good leaders to speak out for sufferers and to inspire others to stop discrimination as well as those leaders are willing to sacrifice something in order to gain their right and pursue their good life.
One of women who fought the women’s right and change the American society was Sojourner Truth. In the article, ‘Ain’t I a Woman,’ Sojourner Truth spoke out for other women who suffered from gender inequality, and at the Women’s Convention, she addressed a powerful speech trying to convince her audience to fight for gender inequality. In fact, fighting for discrimination and inequality was a difficult task because this goal was not easy to achieve and it could easily give up people lives; therefore those people required a good leader who can guide them to make an effort and is willing to risk his or her life to help stop people from inequality even though a leader has to sacrifice something in turn for pursing a good life and gaining their right.
Sojourner Truth can be considered as a good leader who devoted all her time and energy to helping those women and inspiring them to strive for women’s right even though she had to face many difficulty and sacrifice something in order to stop the gender inequality. She showed that she is a good leader by addressing a powerful speech with strong emotion to grab her audience’s attention. She motivated other people to fight for the women’s right by saying that she is a woman, and she can do anything a man can do which implies that there is no different between female and male (Truth 2); therefore she suggested women should have the equal right compared to men.
In her speech, she also revealed the personality of a good leader by delivering a word with resentment to show how angry she was toward gender inequality and how audience was persuaded by her emotion and address. Moreover, she devoted her time and energy to delineate the problems the black woman have faced in the period of discrimination. She used her experience as an example of gender inequality. She said that ‘I am a woman, but nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place’ (Truth 2). As a result she was trying to persuade other women who have suffered from the same situation to fight for their right and good life.
Similarly, Martin Luther King was a leader and activist of anti-discrimination movement because he gave himself a good reason for being active in working for civil right and fighting for social change by saying that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ (‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, para. 4). He devoted his time to serve as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to help ending the unequal treatment of people based on race. In the article, ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail,’ King pointed out that he was in Birmingham, Alabama because here is the place filled with injustice and racial discrimination. He devoted himself to helping black people and others who suffered from unequal treatment to cease racial inequality by nonviolent action, but as time flies by, the result was disappointed, and the progress was very slow. He then encouraged his fellow to take the next action, direct action, since King though that ‘Nonviolent tension is necessary for growth,’ (para. 10) and he was ready to take account for outcome he had made.
Martin Luther King showed the personality of a good leader as he served as the president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference and is willing to lead other activists to end the racial inequality. Moreover, in this letter, because he wrote that he was fighting for social change, and he never afraid to sacrifice himself in order to stop the racial discrimination and prejudice; he showed his brave and firm belief to his fellow clergymen and followers to motivate them stand up and fight for social change. Furthermore, Martin Luther King also mentioned in this letter that ‘Through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by oppressed’ (‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, para.13) to inspire his followers and supporters to be active toward this protest because he knew that waiting was not a good idea to solve this issue, and it would deny justices as time went by.
It is important to having a good leader who can guide those people who heavily suffered from inequality and discrimination because a good leader can direct them to the right path, and a good leader makes sure the sufferers can no longer undergo those inequality and obtain their right and freedom. In these two readings, Sojourner Truth and Martin Luther King were leaders who contain very similar characteristics. Both were trying to fight for the unequal treatment of people based on gender and race. They also somehow had to sacrifice something such as time, energy, and even their lives to stop the inequality and discrimination because their sacrifice were necessary to make sure the society move toward the civil right and freedom for all the people regardless the gender and race. However, Sojourner Truth and Martin Luther King were willing to sacrifice anything, and they never gave up in helping to end the gender inequality and racial discrimination until the society has become a just and equally treated society.

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