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

To what extent was King the most significant civil rights leader ?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was King the most significant leader of the African American quest for equal rights 1865 - 1992 Martin Luther King is probably the most famous civil rights leader ever, his message having permeated through national divides and survived the tests of time. His name is usually the first to come to mind when the topic of the African American struggle for civil rights in mentioned, but despite this many other key figures played an integral part in the successes of the movement, and we cannot be sure if the results would have ever been the same without all of them. King rose to fame on the back of his first major victory. In 1955 Buses in Montgomery Alabama were segregated with whites getting the best seats, yet despite this over 75% of the revenue for the bus companies came from Afro-Americans. Rosa Parks, an African American woman refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man despite the demands of the bus driver. ...read more.

Middle

Similar was true of interstate transport, and it was mainly due to Kings "freedom rides" of 1961 that these too were desegregated. In 1963 King led a crowd of 250,000+ including many whites on a march through Washington and to a TV audience of millions recited his famous "I have a dream" speech. His dream was for legal racial equality, and in 1964 he got it. The Civil Rights Act was passed banning segregation in public places and providing the first legal recognition of equality. Yet King did not stop here, and the following year after another march the voting rights act was passed giving the votes to millions of blacks. It is fair to say that in terms of furthering the civil rights of African Americans in the eyes of the law, King was vital. However, Kings tactics did have some downsides. Firstly he was rather unsuccessful amongst northern African Americans who didn't connect with his strong Christian ethos and passive methods. Secondly while his "reforms" in theory were massive steps forward, in reality had little effect. ...read more.

Conclusion

In evaluation we must point out that X was very northern centric, and had little to no impact in the south where the bulk of the black population lived. His methods were also significantly criticized. The justification behind lynching and white supremacist groups in the south was that the freed black man was a "violent animal" who would be a sexual menace to all white women. By advocating violence, X played into the hands to groups such as the KKK who could use his actions as evidence of that their propaganda was true. He also alienated the entire white population of the USA and made political dealings with politicians almost impossible. His actions could be argued to have actually been a major hindrance to the civil rights movement, leading to the fragmentation of leadership and support, the loss of political influence and the eventual infighting within the civil rights movement. At the end of the day it was his own movement, the Nation of Islam, that assassinated him. ...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)

    Many African Americans were beginning to see that the nonviolent, integrationist methods were not gaining enough ground in solving the institutional racism and poverty that many African Americans still faced. "The nonviolent tactics that had worked in the South would not work in the northern cities."35 As the support for

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

    the word 'American' throughout the speech, and describing the American constitution as 'magnificent'. This shows togetherness with every person in America, regardless of colour. He does this to break barriers with other ethnic groups, and focuses on something they have in common, which is patriotism.

  1. To what extent was WW2 the most significant turning point for civil rights

    Other significant time periods must also be looked at to judge the significance of the war, especially those beforehand. Much of the success of the war period built upon actions from the post-reconstruction era.

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

    His argument was used for the next twenty years in passing more equality legislation. While other authors claim that the civil rights movement was solved by cases post-Brown era, William Collins argues that the major shift began before Brown. Using Missouri v Canada and Sweatt v Painter as evidence, he claims that those cases did more than Brown did.

  1. To what extent did the actions of Rosa Parks contribute to the reversal of ...

    First Rosa Parks" * At age of 15, March 2nd 1955 she refused to give up seat * Arrested,jailed and bailed by her mother * Black leaders raised money to take the case to Supreme Court * Became pregnant by a married man which black leaders though would scandalize the

  2. Describe the impact of the montgomery bus boycott

    Throughout the boycott African Americans showed themselves to be respectable, peaceful and even cooperative, whereas the white community responded with stubbornness and even violence. Martin Luther Kings house was bombed, as were other white leaders, even when the buses were finally segregated snipers shot at buses.

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

    described King as a ?very intelligent young man? and that ?he would make you feel what he was saying and not just hear it? he had effected the whites too? (6) it shows the impact King had which shaped the Civil Rights movement and without the Bus Boycott, King?s influence may have not emerged.

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

    However, in Chicago King achieved an accord between the Chicago real estate boards. They agreed to end their opposition of new housing laws, which calls in to question the reliability of this source largely in using it as evidence against the significance of King after the march on Washington.

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