Winning Essay by DeAndre P. from Florida attending University of Central Florida
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Martin Luther King Jr. was a political activist and civil rights leader whose actions have served as an inspiration in my life. As an African American leader during the rise of segregation and discrimination, Dr. King solved his problems through the use of peaceful protesting. He lead marches, boycotted segregated restaurants and buses, withstood unnecessary harm by police officers, served time in jail due to false accusations, and (as a minister) gave motivating speeches and delivered encouraging messages not only to African Americans, but also other races undergoing unfair treatment in the south. Having been such a powerful spokesperson and the face of the civil rights movement, Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech is known as one of the most influential and significant speeches of all time. His words were a reflection of his spirit and his actions were a reflection of his words. Dr. King has had an inspiration in my life since a young age. I can’t imagine not being able to meet some of the people I met or go to school in today’s society and make friends with the existence of segregation. For as long as I can remember I have always been able to put differences aside and get along with any individual regardless of race, gender, or religion. Furthermore, Dr. King’s actions have inspired me to know how to handle conflict when it arises. I follow his policy that violence is never the answer. In numerous situations I have responded to rudeness with kindness and violence with non-violence. I’ve pursued the morals of loving your enemies and treating others as you would like them to treat you. Another way Dr. King has inspired me was through his speaking skills. Whenever I have to give a speech I imagine myself as him. I envision the audience I’m speaking to as the support of the thousands that marched alongside him that day. All in all, Martin Luther King Jr. as a strong, enduring, moving, person and by his actions, has inspired me to be the best I can be, to live a full and healthy life, to not let my life be lost in vein, and ultimately to follow my dreams and not let anything get in the way from achieving them.

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