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Leaders For Social And Political Change

1017 words - 5 pages

Leaders for social and political change
Michelle Clark
Themes in U.S. and World History

August 1, 2013

Leaders for social and political change
Over the course of history, there have been many battle stories, both political and social of how nations have become what we know today. Among these stories are those of social injustices, hatred, and racism, as well as personal and political struggles. From the many injustices our predecessors have overcome, leaders have emerged. Individuals who will forever be revered by millions and will hopefully continue to inspire our youth. Nelson Mandela and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. are two leaders that have greatly impacted not ...view middle of the document...

The most important political change that was the direct result of Nelson Mandela’s actions was the end of apartheid in South Africa.
He began his cause as a leader of the African National Congress that took a non-violent approach to the fight for human rights, but shortly after the Sharpeville Massacre, Mandela formed the Umkhonto, which advocated the use of violence. He raised money abroad for the organization and made arrangements for paramilitary training and anti-apartheid war. Nelson Mandela was arrested and charged with treason, sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. As result, he spent 27 years in prison on Robin Island, off the coast of Cape Town. Several offers were made to free Mandela if he would renounce violence against the government, but Mandela refused.  In Mandela’s own words, "What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts”. (Alexander, n.d.) On February 2, 1990, under the authority of President F.W. de Klerk, the ANC as well as other anti-apartheid organizations were legal again. Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990. With his dedication and through his example while imprisoned, Mandela was able to bring about political and social change. His determination and unwillingness to accept his own freedom until apartheid was abolished was instrumental in ending apartheid and the beginning of civil rights. In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994 he was elected president of South Africa, and voting was made legal for black people. It was through the end of apartheid that social change was able to occur. The most important social change that followed the end of apartheid was civil rights. Black South African’s were able to move about the country without the dreaded passbook. Segregation was not as prominent, as they were able to enjoy common areas, such as parks and stores. The promise of hope that Nelson Mandela instilled in his people was finally a reality. He is a role model that never...

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