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The Civil Rights movement is still identified by people across the world with Dr Martin Luther King. His day of birth is remarked with a national holiday

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How Far would you agree with Ella Bakers Statement that the movement mad Martin rather than Martin making the Movement. The Civil Rights movement is still identified by people across the world with Dr Martin Luther King. His day of birth is remarked with a national holiday in the United States and there are many historic sites dedicated to MLK across the nation. His funeral in Atlanta on 9th April 1968 was attended by political leaders from around the world and later in 1977 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom which stated that MLK was "the conscience on his generation" who..."saw the power of love could bring down segregation". It is clear that MLK had a huge impact on how the civil rights movement was to be perceived by all people in the years to follow. 'Martin Luther's Style of Leadership' written by Peter J Ling for the BBC Website suggests that King is "...Vividly remembered...thanks to the miracle of Television". It is apparent that the boom of household televisions and the rising involvement of media and news coverage helped king to demonstrate his communicational skills through his speeches which were broadcasted across the nation. However many people argue that the media played a huge part in his prominence and focused on his achievements and successes rather than his faults. MLK's approach to achieving racial equality is admired by many. His non-violent peaceful protests gained more support from African Americans, who realised that this was the only realistic approach for them to achieve civil rights. ...read more.


Ella Barker's statement - "The movement made Martin rather than Martin making the movement", is supported by the fact that the movement was already in full stride before MLK's emergence. The NAACP had already been victorious in the board versus the board of education case in 1954. Neither was King present in the Little Rock event of 1957 where the strong stance taken by nine black students resulted in their acceptance into a high school. Except his influence to Robert Kennedy, King played little part in individually tackling the issue of desegregation in schools. Martin Luther King's first claim to fame was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. However, it is said that he never had aspirations to be a civil rights leader, and only got involved with the boycott because he was chosen to do so by E.D Nixon. It is claimed that King's only quality were his communication skills, the ability to convey his messages towards the black people. It is said though his leadership skills were just hype. Both the lunch protesters and freedom rides in the early 1960's were organised by students, and the SNCC and CORE both started to lose admiration towards King in the sixties. As leader of the SCLC, king experienced a number of disappointments. Various campaigns to increase voter registration and to desegregate Albany in the state of Georgia proved unsuccessful. A major criticism of Martin Luther King's work is his failure to have any impact in the North. ...read more.


It could be said that by "faking" his way to the top, King got an easy ride and never put any effort into making the civil rights movement. This characteristic in his personality can be supported by the ideas that he never individually participated in events he organized and often relied on others to carry these out. Ella Baker's statement is well supported by many facts and revelations about MLK since his death. However, it could be say Baker had a personal purpose for her claims. The book "Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision" by Barbra Ransby claims baker "had to play second fiddle to more powerful men", which made it difficult for her to conform to male-dominated hierarchies. . She quit the NAACP when she could no longer abide Walter White and left SCLC after becoming disenchanted with King. It could be said Baker had a personal vendetta against MLK, who was constantly receiving recognition for the hard work that many unsung civil rights heroes like Baker were putting in. The Freedom Rides of 1961 were credited as being the work of King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference organisation. However it was the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) who were behind the rides. When MLK was asked to join the freedom riders into Mississippi he declined their invitation, thus resulting in the organisation to publicly show their mistrust in a leader who, As Ling puts it, "preferred to cheer from the sidelines." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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