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How successful were the non-violent direct action policies of Martin Luther King in achieving civil rights for blacks in the 1950s and 1960s?

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Introduction

How successful were the non-violent direct action policies of Martin Luther King in achieving civil rights for blacks in the 1950s and 1960s? Martin Luther King was born on January 15th 1929 and he, like most other black people in America at the time was no stranger to racial discrimination. In the late 50s, segregation in schools, lunch counters and other public facilities was prevalent. Furthermore, black Americans didn't have the right to vote and were denied many economic opportunities enjoyed by others. Kings upbringing in such oppression spurred him to believe he had to educate the nation about the evils of racism. While studying at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, King heard a lecture on Mahatma Ghandi and the non-violent civil disobediance campaign he used on the British occupiers in India. After studying Ghandi's work, King believed the same methods would prove to be effective against the oppressors in America. ...read more.

Middle

The irony of the protest must have angered them, which may have been what king wanted as a side effect. If the white people are angered it is easier to show the world how the black people are innocent and the white people are the violent oppressive ones. This situation would add to the success of King's policy of non-violent action by showing that when black people united they could achieve huge things like this. After the success of this King became a founding member of the SCLC, which was an organisation committed to using non-violence in the struggle to end racial discrimination. The motto of the SCLC was "not one hair on one head of any person should be harmed." The SCLC was significant and boosted the chance of success because the black church, which was very powerful, especially in the south, was now involved fully in the struggle. A group of students who had read King's work decided to take action themselves by staging the first demonstrative sit in. ...read more.

Conclusion

For the purpose of answering this question I would say that it is classified as non-violent direct action so this method was extremely successful. Another criticism levelled at King was that, should King never have gotten involved, would the civil rights movement have had the same impact on society? I would have to say no, King was such an amzing leader, speaker and overall morale booster that even if non-violent protests have taken place, they wouldn't last for 13 months like the bus boycott. Kings stratagies were ingenius and his publicity for the cause was huge even though he was criticised for this also, by blacks mostly. There is one thing that can never be questioned about king and that is his dedication to the cause. King started the black civil rights movement, he kept pushing and pushing for equality in everything and didn't simply stop when black people earnt the right to vote. He kept pushing for equal rights for everyone, litterally, until the day he died for his cause, in Memphis Tennesee, March 1968. ...read more.

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