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

"The movement made Martin rather than Martin making the movement." How far was King's role in the Civil Rights Movement essential to its success?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The movement made Martin rather than Martin making the movement." How far was King's role in the Civil Rights Movement essential to its success? "Martin Luther King is one of America's most controversial figures."1 Contemporary and modern historians are "bitterly divided in their assessment of him"1, and the extent to which his words and actions contributed to the betterment of black Civil Rights. Anthony Badger maintains that: "no person was more important"6 than King, a view popularly held by those outside the movement throughout the 20th century; whilst Ella Baker controversially claimed: "the movement made Martin"3, representing opposition to the traditional idea that King was a "saintly figure to many."1 Primarily it is the notion that "King was led rather than leading"1, causing debate over whether a Martin Luther King myth has been allowed to evolve. Though, once more counter-argument suggests "the wisdom of his strategy and tactics"1 to be his significant contribution to the movement. ...read more.

Middle

Yet "similar boycotts in other cities met with little success", and also "the MIA was largely ineffective in challenging other forms of discrimination."2 White's analyses would suggest King's inability act decisively. Sanders credits King for "mastermind[ing] a pilgrimage to Washington"1, but also explains how the SCLC lacked the ability to consolidate: "sustained local campaigns for specific gains proved more difficult for SCLC."1 King's leadership in this case has been highlighted as lacking organisation or real direction, showing inadequate long-term insight. However, the difficulties of King's position as head of a new black Civil Rights group are aptly explained by Sanders: "As always, one of the greatest organisational problems he face was the local and national black divisions."1 Though this would excuse the SCLC's lacking gains on a legislative front, it fails to account for King's inability to mobilise the people of Atlanta, and thus the SCLC's early shortcomings and the failure to achieve its primary objective - encouraging blacks to vote, are evidence enough for revisionists to question King's leadership skills. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps unfairly, King's ability is also challenged in view of the SCLC's contribution to the 'Albany Movement'. White's view of the fact that the Albany activists "did not welcome the SCLC presence and were openly critical of King's 'charismatic' leadership style"2 demonstrates the inter-organisational pressures SCLC had to operate under. King's efforts, however, were also seen as a blunder, as he failed to account for the lack of publicity as a result of an absence of white violence to black protest, exposing King's reactionary approaches and bad planning. Yet, Lewis defends King, claiming "It was the planning, the organizing, the strategy that he brought with him that brought change"9, and believes "it was a miscalculation on the part of a number of people that a spontaneous appearance by Martin Luther King could bring change", thus implying that King's responsibility for the failure was not entire. 1028 words - will use wider range of sources when my books arrive!! ...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. The Civil Rights Movement Project

    The March on Washington DC in 1963 Dr King organised a massive march on Washington DC, the original message was to ask for more jobs for black people. However at the last minute it was changed to demanding the passage of President Kennedy's Civil Rights Bill.

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

    This was for the de-segregation of blacks and whites on buses. Martin Luther King was influenced greatly by Mahatma Gandhi's methods of non-violent peaceful, protest. His technique was known as a non-violent resistance, using love, prayer, and speech as direct action against physical violence.

  1. The Lion King"

    Mise en Scene Wild Africa is the setting for this animated tale of a young lion cub whose evil uncle usurps his father's crown and lets hyenas overrun the kingdom. Dodging danger and befriending some oddball characters, the cub wanders until the day he's ready to return.

  2. The Civil Rights Movement.

    He had been rejected from the University of Maryland Law School on racial grounds but he did go on to study law at the Howard University Law School.

  1. Civil Rights Movement

    A success would mean equality, thus a much more even mix. Source B also backs up this point. It is a photograph taken on the 23rd of September - three years after the Brown vs Board of Education case deemed the segregation of schools unconstitutional.

  2. The Civil Rights Movement

    This is emphasised by the girl in the background of the photograph, who is shouting abuse at the black girl. In Source C The leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, said that the Civil Rights Movement had a 'remarkable record of achievements' thanks to direct non-violent actions.

  1. How far can the Civil Rights Movements be seen as a success by the ...

    They did not repeat this mistake. In 1941; Philip Randolph planned a 100,000 strong protest in industry. The government was alarmed at the prospect of a mass march, and decided to strike a bargain. Roosevelt agreed to ban discrimination against black workers in industrial and government jobs, and set up a committee to report of discrimination against black workers in private defence companies.

  2. Evaluating the Prime Ministers of the 20th Century. Major figures and events in ...

    She survived an assassination attempt in 1984. Most Successful to least successful 1. Winston Churchill. 2. Clement Attlee. 3. Margaret Thatcher 4. Harold Wilson 5. Edward Heath 6. James Callaghan 7. Harold Macmillan 8. Alec Douglas-Home I believe that Winston Churchill was the most successful as he beat the

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