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

Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping blacks gain Civil Rights in the 1960s? Explain your answer.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping blacks gain Civil Rights in the 1960s? Explain your answer. This essay aims to show how important Martin Luther King was to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It will achieve this by looking at the situation of black Americans before the Civil Rights movement, Civil Rights gained before Martin Luther King, work done by Martin Luther King and work done by other Civil Rights leaders. The first black Americans were Africans brought to America in the seventeenth century by white settlers to work as slaves. Black people were kept as slaves until in 1863 when President Lincoln declared that all slaves were to be set free in the Emancipation Proclamation. However, slavery was only finally abolished at the end of the war. The south had been devastated by the civil war and to help, Lincoln and the government set up the Freedmen's Bureau to supply food, clothes and medicine to those in the south. The bureau also set up schools to educate ex-slaves. Whites in the south objected to blacks being free and equal so introduced the 'Black Codes' which denied blacks the right to vote, separated them in public places and forbade inter-race marriages. ...read more.

Middle

His only success was in ending segregation in the US armed forces. As this was such a huge organisation it gave blacks some hope and changed many people's way of life. President Eisenhower, like Truman, hated discrimination against the blacks. He appointed liberal minded Earl Warren as Chief justice of the Supreme Court. In 1952 the NAACP brought a case to court challenging the Education Board of Topeka on behalf of a girl called Linda Brown. Linda Brown was a young black girl who had a long and dangerous journey to get to her school rather than attending a nearby whites-only school. Chief Justice Earl Warren announced in favour of Brown and the NAACP saying that segregated education could not be equal. Separate schools were declared illegal and southern states were ordered to set up integrated schools. However, many southern states defied the court's order. The test of the ruling came in 1957 when nine black children tried to enrol in an all-white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Riots broke out and Governer Faubus ordered the state national guard not to allow the nine pupils to enter the school. ...read more.

Conclusion

King wrote a book called 'Stride Toward Freedom' after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it described the boycott and King's views on non-violence and peaceful protests. A small group of black students from North Carolina read his book and decided to take action. They started a sit-in in a local store that refused to serve black people. In the days that followed other black people joined them. This form of protest was then copied by many others in the south. Within months of the sit-ins restaurants, lunch counters, parks, churches, libraries and theatres were desegregated. Another thing that martin Luther King encouraged was selective buying. He told blacks to reward companies who were sympathetic to Civil Rights by buying their products. The principle of selective buying was to punish companies who kept their workforces segregated by not buying their goods. King also travelled the country making speeches to encourage people to get involved in the Civil Rights movement. He realised that only a new Civil rights laws would force whites in the south to treat blacks as equals. He campaigned endlessly, in 1957, martin Luther King spoke to a crowd of 40 000 people at a 'freedom march' in Washington. Again, in August 1963, a quarter of a million people marched into Washington to demand a new civil rights law. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1941-80 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 GCSE USA 1941-80 essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping ...

    4 star(s)

    The letter called for immediate change, and talked of the horrific lynchings and mobs that black people had faced courtesy of the Ku Klux Klan. Later in the same year, he led a march to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, attended by around 250,000 people, which climaxed in his

  2. Blacks were substantially better off in 1877 than they had been in 1863.' How ...

    Even though they weren't Amendments to the Constitution they symbolised that the Government was for equal rights (especially voting rights) and were doing all they could to make people gradually change their minds towards the ex-slaves and Reconstruction. Also, another issue which helped progress blacks politically was the election of Republican's Hiram Revels and Blanche K.

  1. Civil Rights-Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in ...

    fight for civil rights, which started in Birmingham, however King later admitted in 1959 that the SCLC had achieved little in its first three years. Martin Luther King also helped significantly in 1960-2 to get the SCLC, CORE, NACCP and SNCC to work together on voter registration.

  2. Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping ...

    It showed how they were good people, and made those who attacked them, such as the Klu Klux Klan (a racist organisation who felt America should only have white Anglo Saxon protestants in it), look like evil and (unlike the non violent blacks)

  1. How successful was the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s

    Public opinion in the USA was going even further towards racial equality. Martin Luther King's reputation was at its height. However things weren't perfect, there were signs of tension and potential division in the movement that were to become increasingly clear in the next three years.

  2. What was the contribution of Martin Luther King to the civil rights movement?

    Occasionally they were beaten up, but that only drew attention to the situation and was a small price to pay as segregation was ended in both bus and rail stations, it also led to segregation at airports. Freedom Marches also drew attention to the movement.

  1. Why was Martin Luther King both so bitterly criticised, and so deeply mourned by ...

    However, one place he avoided was Mississippi until 1964 which was the worst southern state. If he wanted to become a martyr and die for the cause, he could have gone to Mississippi before for this reason King was criticized for being fearful and cautious.

  2. Why did the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960's?

    The third cause was that the black citizens rejected Martin Luther King in the North. This was because he didn't understand that people are not concerned with formal desegregation or right to vote. They were concerned with social and economic problems which displayed no signs of preventions.

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