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Martin Luther King junior and Susan Anthony are some of the famous freedom fighters in the history of the United States. During the days when America was experiencing extreme level of discrimination, especially racial and sex discrimination, these two leaders stood out to express their dissatisfaction with the vice. Both leaders in prorated time made public speeches in response to the discrimination that existed in America. These speeches were a real basis for victory in the war against racial and sex discrimination. There are similarities and differences in the speeches that the two leaders gave towards discrimination. From the analysis below, we find that both leaders were fighting and criticizing discrimination to a section of the citizens of America. This is evident in both speeches. On the contrary, one area where the two speeches differ, as we shall see in the latter stages of this essay, is that, in Susan’s speech, she was more of bitter about the mistreatment of the female citizens in the United States, and she was demanding change. On the other hand, in Martin Luther King junior’s speech, we see a leader who was an epitome of hope, giving the public hope that one day the discrimination will stop in a peaceful way. Susan b Anthony was a female activist who was campaigning against discrimination basing on sex, whereas Martin Luther King junior was an activist against racial discrimination. In this paper, we analyse some of the similarities and differences in the two speeches.
Susan b Anthony gave her speech at a time when she had just come out of jail for illegally participating in an election process, which at that time was not acceptable by the American constitution. In her days, the United States constitution did not allow a woman to participate in an election. The constitution only allowed males to participate in an election process. Susan had defied the provision and forcefully participated in the election of the head of state. This landed her in jail. She was, therefore, giving the speech after her release from prison. In her speech, she was stressing on the need for the United States constitution to provide or allow female citizens to participate in the election process, claiming that it was their legal right. In her speech, she says, “Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several states is today null and void, precisely as is every one against Negroes”. In fact, she was emphasizing that it was not fair to let the fathers, sons and brothers vote, yet the mothers, sisters and daughters did not vote (Antony).
On the contrary, Martin Luther King Junior gave his speech on the wake of a high degree of mistreatment on the Negroes, who were black in complexion. Black Americans lived in the poorest villages in the United States, facing harassment from the American police, unlike their white counterparts. Luther was, therefore, criticising these acts of colour discrimination. Another difference between the two speeches is that, in Luther’s speech, he showed a lot of hope and was trying to encourage the black people that they should not be despaired. He encouraged and gave them hope that one day America would be free from racial discrimination. He says in the speech, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" (BBC News). Martin Luther was optimistic that the time was coming, when black and white Americans would agree and share ideas in managing the State. He was optimistic that one day people would evaluate blacks in terms of their potential, and not their colour (BBC News).