• 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

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

    4 star(s)

    Both of these pieces of legislation required the joint cooperation of President and Congress, and marked a great success for Johnson, who had done the impossible, and created a pro-Civil Rights coalition of Republicans and Democrats, a feat unachieved by any President previously.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    "[The OAAU32] is designed to fight all the negative political, economic and social conditions that exist in our neighbourhood."33 Other groups such as the SCLC and the NAACP, as stated before, aimed primarily at tackling the political inequality of race relations such as the inability to vote for many African Americans because of obstacles such as the poll tax.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Essay on civil rights

    3 star(s)

    his greatest contribution was his encouragement for Black people to have pride in themselves. However, it was an attitude like that, that demoralized the Black community for he was basically stating that they should give up and just leave.

  2. The question that will be investigated is, to what extent was the case of ...

    Despite the massive movement, by 1965, "only 2 percent of black schoolchildren attended integrated schools."5 Nixon used a Southern Strategy in 1960s to gain votes from whites who did not want to go to integrated schools, showing the vast amounts of separatists who wished to stay segregated.6 Brown v Board

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

    While Eisenhower did make promises to continue the advancement of civil rights in his State of the Union address, it was only mentioned in a very small portion of his lengthy speech, suggesting that it may not have been the most important factor in his mind.

  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 ...

    The Poor People?s campaign in Chicago was disastrous in terms of organisation with many unprepared for the cold, harsh weather in the north. King also made a number of demands that were considered completely outrageous by President Johnson. As such, although he won the support of many labour unions, the

  2. Who or what was responsible for the creation of a divided, racist & segregated ...

    Compromise was the main reason for the racial divide in the United States. In addition, the actions of the individual states contributed to the racist feelings throughout America. The Jim Crow Laws passed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina included segregation on buses, education, burial, the blind and inter-marriages.

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