Segregation introduced some of the most influential people in American History. These individuals set the precedent for societal changes that brought about equality for all citizens. This paper examines the struggles that segregation provided throughout history as written about in I Have a Dream, Shame, and My Name is Margaret, Separate but not Equal: Issues of Segregation in Angelou, Gregory, and King Segregation is defined as the superiority that one group feels over another. This superiority was developed on the basis that anyone of a different skin color was inferior. Integration was believed to be detrimental for society and limited interaction with different groups was preferred This perception of a jaded reality became the actuality for African Americans. They were targeted for the color of their skin and this resulted in many problems for every African American age group.
As segregation grew, three specific people in history spoke out and became supporters to end of segregation for good. Maya Angelou touched on the issue of segregation in her piece, My Name is Margaret. The quote “Well that may be, but the name’s too long. l’d never bother myself, I’d call her Mary if I was you”, shows that domestic servants were viewed as insignificant. Their original names were seen as trivial and were often changed. This helped create the idea that blacks were at the disposal of their employers. Segregation allowed all respect to be lost for African Americans and they could be stripped of their dignity within a matter of seconds.
Individuals, like Miss Glory, who desired the end of segregation can be recognized as hypocritical because they went along with the mistreatment of domestic servants and many others. The repercussions of racial discrimination were evident even before its official end. In Shame, Dick Gregory wrote “I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that”. African American children learned at a young age that they were inferior. They were deprived of equal education and equal childhood. As a result they had substantially less job possibilities than other races and lived in poverty, These circumstances were unwillingly received by children and adults that ended up with minimum opportunities for growth Segregation of the African American culture not only altered lives but also redefined futures. Perhaps the most influential person pursuing a better future for African Americans was Martin Luther King, Jr.
He was an advocate for civil rights and organized The Great March on Washington where he delivered his prominent speech, I Have a Dream In this speech, King preached freedom and “demands the same justice and equality for black Americans that is promised to all citizens in the Declaration of Independence”. King strongly believed that the United States was founded on the belief that all citizens are equal and deserved to be treated as such. His persistence and contributions opened the doors for a new integrated society and gave African Americans something to believe in, In conclusion, each author recognizes the need to end segregation. Angelou believes that individuality is necessary to further the compatibility among groups of people. Gregory reasons that inferiority should not be a factor when determining someone’s worth. King advocates equality to further develop an integrated society, In the end, the goal of ending segregation results in equal rights and opportunities for everyone.