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The Resilience of Different African Americans

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King was the definition of perseverance and resilience. These attributes and personal traits he was blessed with helped him succeed in giving equal rights to African Americans. The life and occupation of King was very similar to the life and commitment of being a soldier. Both lifestyles required perseverance and resilience. King was a minister and activist; his job dealt with high stress similar to the job of a man in service. The only way King could deal with this stress was remembering that one day, his dream of racial equality would come true. His goal reduced the stress and strengthened his resilience. King was constantly rejected through physical violence and harsh words. However, his resilience helped him cope with this rejection. Like all soldiers, King was separated from his family a lot. This did not help King’s journey in attaining equality as he did not have the support of his family with him. However, King believed that any goal someone is fighting for is worth it if it progresses justice. Similarly, during warfare, it can be very difficult for a soldier to focus in battle knowing you could never see your family again. As well as what King believed, soldiers believe that what they are doing is progressing justice for their country. King proved that even the most stressful times could be overpowered by resilience. He was an inspiration to the whole world, and his constant dedication to his goal for civil rights aided him in transforming the world into what it is today.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a persistent woman with lots of resilience. Because of her persistence, she made a big impact on the civil rights movement. In 1943, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on a bus to a white man. As a result of that, she was kicked off the bus. 12 years later, she did the same act of resistance which led to her arrest. Influenced by her arrest, the Montgomery bus boycott began shortly afterwards and lasted for 381 days. Through the year 1955, Rosa Parks showed resilience by staying true to her word. With the help of other people and with a lot of patience, Rosa Parks eventually witnessed the desegregation of the Montgomery Buses. 9 years later, President Lyndon B Johnson would pass the civil rights act. This resulted in Parks being called nasty and unacceptable names. However, Parks stayed resilient and dismissed these insults, continuing on with her fight for racial equality. In 1979, Rosa Parks was awarded the Spingarn Medal as a result of the courage and resilience she displayed during the bus incident. 12 years later, Rosa wrote her first autobiography, which expanded her acts of defiance. Park’s courageous deeds culminated in 1999 when she was awarded the highest honor a citizen in the United States could receive: the Congressional Gold Medal. Parks showed that persistence, resilience, and defiance together can achieve any goal no matter how tough.

Ruby Bridges

“The courage that Ruby Nell Bridges displayed as the first black child to attend a white school in Louisiana never ceases to amaze me. Even in the face of severe hatred, Ruby showed an unimaginable resilience that helped her persevere.” Ruby Bridges dealt with many problems during her childhood years. In 1960, Ruby was one of six black kids to pass a test given by the board of education sending her to William Frantz Elementary School. On the first day of school, a dilemma struck Ruby. A huge mob full of protesters were standing between Ruby and her new school, because the mob was so bad the only solution was for her to be escorted into the school by several police officers. But even after passing into the school, Ruby’s problems got worse. No one had the decency to teach Ruby or the other black children, and they were stuck there until school let out. However, the next day, Barbary Henry a woman from Boston decided to teach Ruby. At first, Ruby was afraid of Barbary, because she thought Barbary would be hostile towards her. But became soft hearted with each other after Ruby was open and honest with Barbary about how she felt. Through the school year, tension began to build up. The threats people would say to Ruby were getting to her, and it led to the young girl getting tormented with nightmares. The only solution to her problem was to stay strong and “say her prayers.” After all the corruption Ruby experienced during her childhood. She stayed resilient to the very end marking a big impact in the fight against segregation and racism.

Jesse Owens

It took a long journey for Jesse Owens to be one of the best in track and field. With his resilience and determination however, he came to be one of the fastest men in history. Owen’s was fast because he strived for excellence. The first step in Owen's journey for excellence was preparation for what was coming. It was 1936, Owens was trying out for the Olympics and won all three of his events entering him into the most anticipated event of the summer. With all the excitement, and enthusiasm going on, Owens had to keep in mind the racism he would have to deal with. He would obviously be discouraged through his events repeatedly. The next step in attaining excellence was perseverance. Jesse Owens raced in front of millions of white people and most important of all, Adolf Hitler. The only way Jesse could get through this hatred and not break down was with perseverance and thankfully he had a lot of it in him. Even with his perseverance however, Jesse could not hold up with the hate all the time. This led to the final step which was the most important of them all: resilience. Jesse was most successful with his mental game in the Olympics because of it. Hitler the host of the Olympics was obviously racist and Jesse knew Hitler insulted him. However, Jesse bounced back with his own insults, his speed and talent. All these steps to excellence led to Jesse Owens winning four gold medals in the Olympics. Clearly Jesse Owens was a resilient, persistent man who succeeded through utmost determination.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey inspired millions with her famous talk show: The Oprah Winfrey Show. She was a sensation and everyone loved her. However, before her fame and success, Oprah dealt with very harsh living conditions. Her life before her greatness was resilience itself. Oprah had a terrible childhood suffering physical and sexual abuse. For example, one time when Oprah was nine, her cousin who was 19 came to watch over Oprah’s siblings and herself. That 19 year old cousin ended up raping Oprah later that day and made her promise not to tell anyone. Another instance when Oprah was abused was a couple years later. A family friend came over to visit Oprah’s family and raped Oprah as well as her uncle abusing her even more to keep silent. Another example on how Oprah had a harsh childhood was having teen pregnancy. At the age of 14, Oprah was pregnant and didn’t tell her parents until she was 7 months in. She eventually gave birth to a boy but he died 2 weeks later. With all these devastating actions that happened to Oprah, the only thing that kept her going was her resilience. Oprah bounced back from all her obstacles in life eventually attaining the ultimate goal of all: knowing you finally won your battle of hardships and succeeding in life.