In the pinnacle period of the Civil Rights Movement, a lot have been said about the great men and women who fought for their rights. Even today, we hardly talk about the Movement without mentioning the name of Martin Luther King. The passion and sacrifice that brought on this fight cannot be equaled by other movements. Charisma has been studied as a trait, with the approach to its study being to look at such qualities as “being visionary, energetic, unconventional, exemplary, and possessing outstanding rhetorical ability” (Charisma, n.d., citing Bass, 1989; Conger, 1989; Harvey, 2001) .Max Weber, on the other hand, defines charisma as “a certain quality of an individual, by virtue of which she or he is set apart from ordinary people and endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. (Charisma, n.d., citing Weber, 1947).Charismatic Theory utilized by Martin Luther King, Jr.Charismatic Leadership Theory states “”that charismatic leaders are exceptionally self-confident, are strongly motivated to attain and assert influence, and have strong convictions on the moral correctness of their beliefs.” (Charismatic Leadership as cited in House & Aditya 1997, p. 416-417 Theory). King utilizes this with such ease, exceptional confidence and grace, coupled with no interest in self-aggrandizement such that he moved his audience in awe and action.It is in this light that we will look into the speech of King and see how he employed the charismatic theory in order to spur people to action. In his speech, I Have a Dream, Luther succinctly states:”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.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream todayThere is an approach to the phenomenon of charisma that King used fully well. Charisma is re-theorized as consisting of behaviors exhibited by leaders and followers projected to external and internal audiences so that they appear to have the attributes of charisma (Charisma). In a theatrical approach, charisma is treated not as consisting of a unique set of characteristics inherent to the individual, but as a set of behaviors, consisting of verbal and non-verbal cues, that can be mimicked to project charisma. Simply put, the theatrical approach sees charisma as a set of behaviors that can be copied and learned, so that those who exhibit those behaviors will be seen as charismatic individuals capable of leadership.This protest at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 saw King, Jr. citing the history of a hundred of years struggle of the Black race to fight for equal rights. He challenged the government and the people to rise up and live out to the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” It was also in this speech that he said: When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”;In this tremendous show of passion, King had a vision of what a nation should be. Freedom as the banner of America should start by freeing its people in any form of discrimination. The children from any kind of race should be equal in their civil rights. This basic freedom is needed, for them to understand that “men indeed are created equal”.Charismatic behaviors of being a visionary, being change-oriented, and being non-conservative are either explicitly or implicitly considered as central assumptions in all the theories of charisma that have been established since Weber; the two argue that all such charisma theories hold that leaders who are exceptionally effective “articulate visions that are based on normative ideological values, offer innovative solutions to major social problems, stand for non-conservative if not radical change, and generally emerge and are more effective during periods of social crisis” (Fiol, Harris, and House, 1999, p. 3).This theory is effective in bringing about change and inspiring members in complex and formal organizations (Jacobsen ; House, 1999, p.2., citing Dow, 1969; Shils, 1965; Beetham, 1974; Bryman, 1992; Etzioni, 1961). Idealized influence relates to how some individuals are emulated as role models for exemplary behavior. More generally, such individuals exhibit the prized values in a group to an exemplary degree. Inspirational motivation relates to the quality of some individuals that enable them to convince group members to commit to a group vision. Intellectual stimulation refers to the ability of some individuals to make group members reexamine their views and beliefs about the status quo, by encouraging critical thinking and the challenging of rules and established ways of doing things. King maximized this in his speech as he encouraged everyone to dream with him.Personal ReactionSacrifices have been made for the fight to attain equal civil rights. The life of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the famous sacrifices. Putting myself as part of the audience on that momentous day, I would also be personally fired up as he was. There was a certain infectious motivation with the way he uttered those well-chosen words. His literary style of repeating the words, “I have a dream today…” makes me ride on and dream on with him. He spurs me to action and I can just imagine how his voice and his whole being vibrated to affect his audience. In a subtle kind of way, King employed theatrics as he delivered his speech. He used all of his facial expressions, gestures and most especially, his words in order to touch his audience. He even repeated phrases so well that it drove home the point he wanted to relay such as when he stated again and again, “Let freedom ring from…” and “We can never be satisfied as long as…”ConclusionIn terms of behavior, socialized leaders come up with and articulate goals that serve to better the future of their followers and serve the interest of the collective, are egalitarian in their ways of governing, are not self-aggrandizing and have low ego needs, intellectually stimulate members and help them grow individually, and work legitimately through established power and authority channels. Socialized leaders also encourage members to think critically, and to challenge and critically examine even the views of their leaders (Howell, 2001). In other words, socialized charismatic leaders can be seen to work for the benefit of others, lead from a position of reason and the strength of their conviction to serve their members, and have no vested self-interest.Throughout history the great charismatic leaders who were also forces of good that changed the world for the better can be considered in this light to be socialized charismatic leaders. Looking deeper, we see that socialized charismatic leadership is leadership exercised for the greater good, with no regard for the accumulation of personal power, and with no intention to exercise power over people for any other purpose than for their betterment.
Civil Rights Movement Paper
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