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Compare the contributions of Martin Luther King and Lyndon B Johnson to the gaining of black civil rights in 1964/5.

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Introduction

Compare the contributions of Martin Luther King and Lyndon B Johnson to the gaining of black civil rights in 1964/5 Both Martin Luther King and President Johnson played significant roles in the coming about of civil rights for African Americans. The two men in different ways were pivotal in the signing of civil rights legislation in 1964 and 65. Martin Luther king grew to prominence in 1955 are grew to be a great black leader. He was an effective organiser, exemplary speaker and a highly skilled motivator. He was able to articulate the feelings and frustrations of the black community in a clear, intellectual and persuasive manner. Through his work King was able to highlight the plight of black people in America, and led many to see the need for full civil rights for African Americans. One person to see this need was Lyndon Johnson who passed the civil rights acts of 1964; he effectively destroyed his political career to aid the lives of Black people. Martin Luther king evidently contributed a great deal to the civil rights movement and ultimately to the federal legislation signed in 1964. King was of great importance to the civil rights movement, he stepped in at a time where it is arguable the movement had lost a sense of direction. He provided the vital link between the black civil rights leadership and the less educated African American member of society, something that the NAACP had failed to achieve. ...read more.

Middle

King and the movement made effective use of peaceful marches and protests, one of the most notably being in the highly segregated city of Birmingham, Alabama. He believed that if the SCLC could succeed there it could succeed anywhere. King and the SCLC arrived in the town demanding desegregation and an end to racism in employment. Only limited progress was made a first and king was imprisoned. Another march was arranged for the beginning of May. As predicated the Police over reacted and ordered police dogs and water canon to be used on the protestors. This was watched by people all over the word, including President Kennedy. This over reaction from the police created publicity that the civil rights movement needed. He believed that if the SCLC could succeed here it could succeed anywhere. King and the SCLC arrived in the town demanding desegregation and an end to racism in employment. Only limited progress was made a first and king was imprisoned. Another march was arranged for the beginning of May. As predicated the Police over reacted and ordered police dogs and water canon to be used on the protestors. This was watched by people all over the word, including President Kennedy. This over reaction from the police created publicity that the civil rights movement needed. Two important and positive conclusions were drawn following the protests. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is thought that after he had signed the bill, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation", anticipating a coming backlash from Southern whites against Johnson's Democratic Party. Johnsons work is massively significant; he along with Kennedy was the first president to take on congress with a civil rights bill. Unlike other presidents he did not use the excuse of having no southern democrat support to be able to pass the bill through congress. Johnson was also the first president to arrest and prosecute members of the KKK since Ulysses S G some 93 years earlier; this highlights clearly his commitment to the lives of African Americans. Following the passage of the civil rights act Johnson and the civil rights movement moved on to the subject of voting rights. The Voting rights acts was passed by Johnson in 1965. The act outlawed any form of discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the very first time. After the signing of the act Johnson states now "those who are equal before god shall now be equal in the polling booths". The act was hugely important to the blacks of the south; however it was not welcomed wholeheartedly by the Blacks of the north, whom already had voting rights. They were far more concerned with their poor economic and social condition. ...read more.

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