Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Tempests of Time, Rights, Race and Justice: Mandela and MLK Jr. as Transformational Leaders or Beneficiaries of Extraordinary Circumstances?

Version 1 : Received: 3 August 2020 / Approved: 5 August 2020 / Online: 5 August 2020 (10:48:12 CEST)

How to cite: Magu, S. The Tempests of Time, Rights, Race and Justice: Mandela and MLK Jr. as Transformational Leaders or Beneficiaries of Extraordinary Circumstances?. Preprints 2020, 2020080131 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0131.v1). Magu, S. The Tempests of Time, Rights, Race and Justice: Mandela and MLK Jr. as Transformational Leaders or Beneficiaries of Extraordinary Circumstances?. Preprints 2020, 2020080131 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0131.v1).

Abstract

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela were two of the world's most iconic civil (political) (human) rights advocates and leaders of all time. Both advocated for, and to varying degrees, applied elements of peaceful protests to the achievement of their goals. Both spent time in jail, often concurrently, but eventually forced their respective countries to extend the same rights that white populations had denied Africans and African Americans. For the US, civil rights, voting rights, right to education, housing and housing loans suggested that equality had been achieved, capped in South Africa by the election of Nelson Mandela as the first majority-rule president, and in the US, by Barack Obama’s election to the presidency. Yet the historical over-policing, police mistreatment and more generally, the judicial system’s inordinate ‘targeting’ of African Americans, with egregious cases running from Emmett Till to Rodney King to Walter Scott to Breonna Taylor to George Floyd to Rayshard Brooks and thousands of others shows the danger of such magical thinking. The now-persistent global wave pursuing human rights, civil rights and the right to be treated equally, primarily driven by the loosely-organized Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, has become the leading voice in pursuit of equality. Riots such as those in LA, protests in Ferguson and everywhere in summer 2020 has ushered new civil rights campaign. In the US and elsewhere, it has morphed to include historical issues such as monuments to colonialism, the US civil war, slavery and slave owners and traders, institutions, companies and people whose wealth and existence has links to slavery. Instructively, the protests persisted even as COVID-19, the hundred-year plague, continues to ravage the world. Lost in the moment is the absence of central leadership and leaders such as MLK or Mandela. Their charisma and effectiveness has been lacking for 50 years. This paper evaluates whether this has led to inconsistent civil and human rights pursuit for equality, or whether perchance, Mandela and MLK were extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime transformative leaders uniquely selected by history for their time.

Subject Areas

Pan-Africanism; African Diaspora; human rights; liberation; transformational leadership; civil rights; colonialism; Martin Luther King Jr.; Nelson Mandela

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