Consideration of Leaders and American Revolutionary Figures

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What defines an influential leader, is it a person who can rally the masses to fight for a cause in face of adversity or is someone who others inspire to be. Throughout history there have been many leaders who have made an impact on this world. From Alexander the Great to George Washington, every culture has those who have made an impacted that helped change their culture in in some shape or form. America is no different in Producing influential leaders. From the Founding Fathers to the Civil rights leaders and to those who can be considered to be the next influential leaders of today.

Take the History of African-American Leaders in America’s history. From originally coming to the U.S as slaves and indentured servants to becoming some of America’s greatest contributors. While there are many African Americans that can be considered influential or those who are considered to be of great renown, there is a certain criteria that separates the influential leaders in the African American community. “There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” (Bass, 1990, p. 11). Despite there being a multitude of different ways on how leadership can be conceptualized, there are certain components people can identify as critical components to what leadership is. As defined by Peter G. Northouse,” (a) Leadership is a process, (b) leadership involves influence, (c) leadership occurs within a group context, and (d) leadership involves goal attainment.” By using these values, we can determine who in the African American community are influential leaders. W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr Martin Luthor King Jr., Malcom X and Thurgood Marshall are all considered to be some of the prominent influential African American leaders in America.

William Edward Burghardt Bois was a man who is considered to be one of the African American’s first influential leaders. As stated earlier, one of the characteristics of leadership is those who are involved in pursuing goals that seem impossible to reach. As the First African American to earn a Ph.D from Harvard university, Du Bois was one of the well-known speakers for African American rights after the Civil war. One of the ways he proved himself a leader was cofounding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois was publicly vocal about demanding full equality for African Americans as stated by the 14th Amendment. Du Bois also was a scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, a co-founder of the Niagara Movement and the Pan African Congresses. He also expressed the strivings of African Americans and established an analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century. As a leader Du Bois was a supporter for both capitalism and economic nationalism, with him publicly urging African Americans to support African American Businesses. This shows that Du Bois was a man who believed that the African American Community could separate themselves from the dependence on an economy that was not benefiting them at all.

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When one thinks of the most influential leaders in the African American community, Martin Luther King Jr. is the first one to come into mind. As one most prominent leaders during the civil rights movement, King used his power as a leader to support of non-violent protests and civil disobedience. One of Kings most famous examples of leadership was organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King was elected the leader even though he was still fairly new. King’s skillful rhetoric was used to energize the Black Community into showing more support and participate in the boycott in Alabama. It was due to the Victory in Montgomery, King and other the leaders were able to push for a national organization to coordinate the civil rights movements across the United States. What made King a strong leader was that he had a clear idea of what he was fighting for. He was someone who did not join the civil rights movement as someone who was looking to become famous but joined the civil rights movement due to following set of principles in which he believed in. He was also a living example of what he taught. Due to him living his life they way he preached, his message was more credible to his followers, which in turn solidified his reputation as an influential leader. Another reason why King is to be considered a on inspirational leaders in the African American community is that his he was able to inspire change through his combination skills.

Typically, in our history classes, we were taught that the main revolutionary leader of the civil rights movement was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Though King was an outstanding leader and a key force during the civil rights movement, he wasn’t the only one. El Haj Malik El Shabaaz aka “Malcolm X” was another prominent leader if not one of the more controversial leaders in the African American community. Often portrayed as a militant pro-black leader, Malcom X was outspoken about the African American Community improving themselves while also becoming self-reliant. As a leader he was able to transcend his own prejudices and was able to let go of his own racism and become a human rights activist. He would also fight for having women take leadership positions in the African American community.

As the First African American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall is considered to be an integral leader who promoted racial equality. Thurgood Marshall demonstrated his leadership in which he made great strides to take The United States from one still being affected by the attitudes and social structures of slavery and a past full of discrimination into a truly integrated society. There can really be no greater single accomplishment of Thurgood Marshall than his victory in the Brown versus the Board of Education case. It was due to that victory that effectively brought school segregation to a halt once and for all in America. Thurgood Marshall paved the way for all African Americans to obtain the same level of high level of education as the white Americans. In doing so, the economic standard of living and educational level of African Americans rose significantly throughout his time on the bench and giving rise to the first black middle class that only added to the movement of the integration of society across all tiers and situations.

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