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How Far Was The Leadership Of Martin Luther King Responsible For The Gains Made By The Civil Rights Movement Between The Years 1955 And 1968?

897 words - 4 pages

How far was the leadership of Martin Luther King responsible for the gains made by the civil rights movement between the years 1955 and 1968?

The leadership of Martin Luther King was heavily influential between 1955 and 1968 and his success was almost entirely down to his methods of peaceful protest, especially in the South. His philosophy of non-violent direct action helped him to project the movement across the whole of America with help from media companies, the movement gained a substantial amount of support out of sympathy when the American citizens saw the brutal treatment of innocent protestors, increasing the already large numbers of campaigners.

Though his campaigns King ...view middle of the document...

On the march which commemorated emancipation proclamation, King emerged as the figure head, the leader of the movement, he gave protestors a direction, he reiterated that non-violent direct action was still the best policy and ultimately a protest of this scale solidified the support for Kennedy’s civil rights legislation as millions across America viewed the campaign and supported the movement despite not being present. Although King led the march many other groups were involved in its success and therefore he cannot be given sole credit for the gains made as a result of the March on Washington.

However on the other hand the sole leadership of King wasn’t responsible for progression within the movement as there were many other civil rights groups like CORE and the NAACP, who also made significant impact. The Little Rock Campaign of 1957, organised by the NAACP aimed to speed up desegregation within schools following the Brown v. Board of Education cases, by enrolling 9 black students in a ‘white’ school. There was enough controversy surrounding the issue of interracial mixing that the school was closed down, leaving 4000 students without an education establishment, the effectiveness of supreme court rulings can be seen with this campaign as the NAACP did what they did best and challenged the issue in court, the school was later reopened and all races were able to attend to comply with recently passed desegregation in education laws.

Perhaps one of the most inspirational campaigns of the period was the Greensboro Sit-ins of 1960 which were organised by the SNCC, they demonstrated resilience and determination, although the non-violent approach may have been influenced by King, he personally remained uninvolved, the...

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