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

How far was peaceful protest responsible for the successes of the civil rights movement in the years 1955-64?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐How far was peaceful protest responsible for the successes of the civil rights movement in the years 1955-64? In the years from 1955 to 1964, there were a significant number of peaceful protests organised by civil rights groups such as the NAACP, SCLC, SNCC and CORE. During this period, the progress towards racial equality was significant as there were many legal changes and de facto changes which ended certain types of segregation. It can be said that peaceful protest was directly responsible for helping to push these changes through and help the development of the civil rights movement, but despite this there are many reasons to show that peaceful protests by civil rights campaigns had a different effect, and did not further this development, but hindered it instead. Furthermore it can be noted that there are many other reasons, not peaceful protest, which ensured such legal progressions and attitude changes were pushed through and achieved. Many campaigns during this time period highlighted that peaceful protest was an effective way of achieving change and bringing in extra white support to push through legal battles. One such protest was the Montgomery Bus Boycott that occurred from 1955-56. This protest was significant because it not only brought Martin Luther King to the forefront of the SCLC (which was established as a result of the Boycott), it highlighted the large economic power that black people had This campaign showed that with careful planning and a wide scale protest, protests such as these ones could be forced onto a higher legal level, ...read more.

Middle

This campaign showed that some forms of peaceful protest did more harm than good, and accidentally encouraged people to be anti-equality. As well as this, the Brown case only brought about a vague de jure change, and failed to secure a de facto change towards desegregation. Another campaign that highlights this was the Albany campaign in 1961-62. This campaign demonstrated that unless peaceful protests were on a mass scale and held in the right places, no change could be made. The Albany campaign was poorly planned, because they did not know how Pritchett would react, had they known this, they would have known that in order to gain support, media attention should be focused on violent measures being used against protestors. As well as this, the Albany campaign led to divisions within the civil rights groups, as many believed that peaceful protest was not the way to carry on. These campaigns demonstrated that peaceful protests did not always bring about positive changes. More evidence that supports this is that peaceful protesting sometimes led to the alienation of Presidents, and their support was key if changes were to be made. One example of this is the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, which was another example of unsuccessful peaceful protest. This was because it led to a further increase in KKK violence and also signalled a breakdown between President Johnson and Civil Rights campaigners. As President Johnson proves to have domestic policies catered towards furthering the status of Black Americans, this can be seen as a big mistake, because it may cause Johnson to rethink his policies or direct his attention elsewhere. ...read more.

Conclusion

This demonstrates that Presidents had a lot of power in ensuring the successes of the civil rights campaigns. To a large extent, peaceful protest was responsible for the successes of the civil rights movement in 1955 to 1964. This is mainly because the protests drew a large amount of attention towards campaigners, as Birmingham and March on Washington forced Kennedy to back the civil rights bill. Without these campaigns, it is unlikely that the civil rights movements would have achieved presidential backing as well as support from the northern whites. However peaceful protests were not always successful as they did not always increase support for the cause, but rather stirred up more opposition, as was the case of Brown versus Board of Education where KKK violence increased. As well as this peaceful protests had to be properly organised and be widespread for it to have any effect. Despite the fact that protests were successful in bringing about change, it is unlikely than any change would have occurred if it hadn?t been for the media attention on the campaigns, and the support from within the Federal Government. Despite this, if there hadn?t been any peaceful protest, the media would have no media attention, and without peaceful protest, Presidents would be unlikely to help change the position of black Americans. It is for these reasons that to a large extent, peaceful protest was responsible for successes of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1964. Ella MacColl ...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)

    "The continuing growth of black nationalist sentiment undermined the interracial complexion of the struggle and contributed hugely to the demise of inter-organisational cooperation during 1967 and 1968."29 It has been suggested by Cone that the fact that Malcolm X "used vituperative language against whites did not mean that he hated

  2. Peer reviewed

    Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of federal ...

    4 star(s)

    As previously mentioned, this prompted Franklin D Roosevelt to issue an executive order to ban segregation within federal employment - and this included within the armed forces.

  1. Comparison of Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson

    He invited Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randpolph, Roy Wilkins, and Lester B. Granger to his home for a meeting about national Civil Rights issues. Eisenhower was also the first president to place an African-American in an executive white house position, and an Italian-American as his official assistant.

  2. Discuss the influences on Malcolm X and how they helped form his ideology in ...

    Malcolm though previously openly attacked King, was now referring to him as a friend. The flexibility of Malcolm is what really makes it difficult to pin point a specific ideology to him. In January 1965 a month before his assassination he was asked whether he would run for mayor if

  1. In considering the development of the USA in the years 1815-1917, how far can ...

    territory and the US army did nothing to protect the Indians, thus it could be argued that after the Civil war America was being more orientated to develop the country and the Native American needs were neglected , therefore the Union victory was not seen as a turning point for

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

    and his philosophy of non-violent protesting played a vital role within the civil rights movement however I will be arguing as other historians believe, that he was merely the face of the movement and without the groundwork and legal work carried out by the other civil rights organizations, King wouldn?t

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

    After the March on Washington Kennedy chose to throw his weight behind a new Civil Rights Bill ? possibly in part due to the March on Washington and his own personal beliefs, alongside what was undoubtedly a myriad of other influences and designs.

  2. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    2. President Eisenhower did not believe it was the presidents job to enforce change 3. Southern States ? attitudes v.slow to change ? used local judges, local government, local police to resist change and intimidate black Americans. Major obstacle to change = attitudes.

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