• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

By what stages did Martin Luther King become a key figure in the struggle for civil rights?

Extracts from this document...


By what stages did Martin Luther King become a key figure in the struggle for civil rights? Martin Luther King is remembered by many as the father of civil rights; his powerful oratory, his successful tactics and popular image all led the momentous occasion in 1965 when the Civil Rights Act was finally passed, something civil rights activists had been fighting for for decades. He is arguably the most well known figure within civil rights, although remembered for his famous 'I have a dream speech' he was a prominent member of the movement from mid 1950s up until his assassination in 1968. King came from a middle class background; he had attended Princeton and was an intelligent, respected man. He first appeared during the December of 1955, the Montgomery bus boycott had just started and during a meeting of churches, King, a young, confident Baptist minister was elected as leader. ...read more.


He also realised that underlying this still needed to be the concept of non violent direct action. Less than a year after the Albany campaign King and the SCLC realised they needed one main focal point in order to achieve something, they had learnt from Albany not to be vague and not to encompass too many different points. And so they undertook the Birmingham campaign in 1963, focusing on the desegregation of businesses. The area and campaign was well planned as to provoke a response from the authorities. The violence of Eugene 'bull' Connor and the police highlighted the irony and unfairness of the situation, and enabled King and his fellow activists to remain calm, collected and retain the moral high ground. It was during this campaign that King began to reach the high point as the leader of civil rights; here he demonstrates an intelligent, tactful and carefully planned movement, ensuring response that would attract media and world wide attention. ...read more.


It comparison to earlier years King was not as popular, he began to lose presidential support as a result of his criticisms of the Vietnam war, people in the north were not as susceptible to his messages of passive resistance and non violence. Although he led the poor peoples march, which king called 'the second phase' of civil rights. He was neither as successful nor high profiled as in preceding years. Reasons for this may include the emergence of black power, splinter groups moving the focus away from one clear aim. Also the geographical movement meant that at this stage in Kings time as a civil rights leader he was not as widely supported as he did not appeal to his audience. Nevertheless King used his talent of rhetoric, his ability to inspire and unite people to become the figure head of the movement, through bringing together different groups King made his way from the Bus Boycott in the 1950s to the height of civil rights with the march on Washington in front of the Lincoln memorial, to the passing of the civil rights act. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    To what extent were Malcolm X and the subsequent Black Power Movement the 'Evil ...

    4 star(s)

    What was achieved by people such as Rosa Parks56 and King in the Civil Rights Acts of 196457 and 196858 and the Voting Rights act of 196559 went against what many advocates of Black Power and Malcolm X were aiming for.

  2. Linguistic Study - Linguistic Analysis of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream', and ...

    He is also remembered for his powerful and motivational speeches, of which the Gettysburg Address is most well-known. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. To obtain my data, I used the internet to get the original text for each speech. The exact wording of the Gettysburg Address is questionable, as the

  1. How far was Martin Luther King's leadership responsible for the gains made by the ...

    His campaigns in the North were far less successful and also help highlight the limitations of his philosophy. A good example is the Chicago Freedom Movement of 1966 as it resulted in an apparent failure that led to further criticism of his leadership and tactics.

  2. How far was the leadership of Martin Luther King responsible for the gains made ...

    As a result, the act that spelled the end of legal segregation was only partly influenced by black Civil Rights activists, let alone by Martin Luther King and his leadership. Martin Luther King actually had a severely detrimental effect on the campaigns before his death due to his outspoken criticism of Lyndon B Johnson?s war on Vietnam.

  1. How Successful Was Martin Luther Kings Campaign For Civil Rights Between 1955-68?

    The boycott officially ended December 20, 1956, after 380 days. The Montgomery Bus Boycott resounded far beyond the desegregation of public buses; it stimulated the national civil rights movement and launched King into the national spotlight as a leader. Another major accomplishment of Martin Luther was the institution of the

  2. What was the short term impact of the Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1957?

    The bus boycott led to the local bus company of Alabama to become highly broke and eventually bankrupt, they had no other way of fixing their economy other than desegregating the buses, as 70% of the bus company?s income came from the black people, which highlights the power of the

  1. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    1. Attorney General (head of justice dept in fed.gov) Robert Kennedy enforced the supreme court rulings on desegregated interstate travel (demonstrates importance of federal intervention) However, 1. Nothing new? Eg - Tactic first used in 1947 (but not successful then)

  2. What was the short term significance of Martin Luther King after the March on ...

    and marches such as the one in Washington which made known the problems that they faced, to the world. This was one of the main reasons that the march on Washington took place, which shows on a political level, its major significance.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work