Perseverance is not something easily defined. It’s not just about working hard and not giving up. It’s more than that. Perseverance is when you work hard and you don’t give in spite of significant challenges. When you persevere, you come out on top. You gain respect. You become a better person, and you make the lives of those around you better, too. People who have demonstrated perseverance through actions and words are Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller and Turner Buckminster.
Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated perseverance through his speeches. He worked hard for what he knew was right, even though many people despised him and what he stood for. King delivered several speeches where he used words to fight for equality and what was fair for everyone. In what was arguably King’s most famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, he stated, “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.’” (“Martin Luther King Jr.” 9). Instead of using violence to fight against those who were against him, he used powerful, meaningful words to get his message across. King organized a march to the state capital of Montgomery to show support for the Civil Rights Movement. “The first attempt to march was aborted because of mob and police violence against the demonstrators. This day has since become known as Bloody Sunday” (“Martin Luther King. Jr.” 10). King faced several challenges along the way. At a time in our history where black people were treated unfairly, police used unnecessary force, and violence was often the answer, King delivered his message in a peaceful way. He did not use his fists, and he did not stop “fighting” for what he believed in. Martin Luther King Jr. is an excellent example of perseverance.
Abraham Lincoln is another person in our history who showed perseverance. As a young boy, Lincoln loved books and learning even though his father considered books to be a waste of time. Lincoln continued to read in spite of his father’s displeasure and much of what he learned was because of the books that he read. Lincoln eventually became our 16th president and began his uphill battle to end slavery. Shortly after Lincoln became preside the country divided and the Civil War began. “Slavery caused the war, and he knew there could be no peace if the country remained half-slave and half-free. So in 1863 he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all salves in the rebelling southern states to be free” (Humphrey 16). Lincoln’s most significant challenge was when the country divided and the Civil War began. He knew that slavery was wrong and that it was essential to our country for it to be abolished. Lincoln understood that his decision was not welcomed in the southern states; however, he made it anyway. Because of his courage, strength and determination, slavery was abolished during his stay at the White House. Abraham Lincoln is another exceptional example of perseverance.
Helen Keller is a third example of an individual who showed perseverance through actions. Keller became deaf and blind at an early age and had to overcome these two significant challenges in order to live a full life. “Though some blind and deaf people of Helen’s era lived their lives shut away, Helen had achieved great things” (Garrett 7). Instead of giving up on life, like many people would have given her circumstances, Helen went on to accomplish many great things; things that most people who aren’t blind and deaf can’t even accomplish. Helen didn’t let her disabilities define her. She worked hard to overcome them and lived a full, happy life because of it. “She had fought hard for her beliefs, many of which were daring for the time, including the right of women to vote” (Garrett 7). Helen didn’t just learn the basics to survive; she learned to speak, read in four languages, write and type on a typewriter and even attended one of the best universities in the world. Helen is the definition of perseverance.
The last example of perseverance is Turner Buckminster from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. Throughout the story, Turner sticks up for what he believes in, regardless of the popular beliefs of that time period. Turner’s best friend is a young black girl named Lizzie. The important people of Turner’s town are racist against blacks, but Turner doesn’t care. He thinks Lizzie is a good person and he wants to be her friend. He doesn’t care about the color of her skin. Throughout the story Tuner sticks by Lizzie’s side and fights for her and her family’s rights even though his father and the people of the town are disappointed in him. At the end of the novel Turner, decides to give a house that’s been willed to him to Lizzie and her family. This is an unpopular decision with the townsmen for obvious reasons; Lizzie and her family are black and they aren’t welcome in town. When confronted by the influential people of the town Turner stands his ground, looks directly in the preachers eyes and says, “I’ve decided to give the house to Lizzie Griffin and the Easons” (Schmidt 169). Turner doesn’t care that his choice is unpopular, or that he gets into trouble for hanging around his friend. He doesn’t care that white and black people aren’t supposed to associate with one another. Turner makes the right decisions when making the wrong ones is so much easier. Turner is an exceptional example of perseverance.
Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller and Turner Buckminster are all perfect examples of perseverance. Instead of giving up or taking the easy way out of difficult situations, they all did what was right, fought for a better way of life and overcame significant challenges. Perseverance isn’t just working hard for something. It’s about facing your challenges head-on instead of running from them. It’s about making difficult decisions when you know they’re not popular, but it’s what’s best. Everyone can say they’ve faced some sort of challenge in their lifetime, but not everyone can say they persevered through it. Only those who work through those challenges are true examples of perseverance.