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

Who was the most influential figure in the Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s? What impact did he/she have?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Who was the most influential figure in the Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s? What impact did he/she have? Until the 1950s, African American faced discrimination in every aspect of their lives. In practice, many US lawmakers and law enforcers approved systematic segregation according to race. This resulted in African Americans becoming victims of mob rule and lynching, being forced to use separate entrances to buildings, being separated in theatres and on buses, denied access to "whites only" swimming pools, hospitals, school and even cemeteries. During the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans, along with other people of other racial groups within the United States, embarked on a campaign to change this situation. This campaign, the Civil Rights Movement, challenged the discrimination and fought to achieve the equality that the American constitution promised for its entire people One of the principle leader and the most influential figure in the civil rights movement was Martin Luther King Jr. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, the eldest son of Martin Luther King, Sr., he entered Morehouse College at the age of 15 and was ordained a Baptist minister at the age of 18. ...read more.

Middle

The next year he gave up his pastorate in Montgomery to become co-pastor (with his father) of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, a strategic move that enabled him to participate more effectively in the national leadership of the growing Civil Rights Movement. At that time, black leadership was undergoing a radical transformation. Having once focused on legal action and reconciliation, it was now demanding change "by any means possible." Differences of ideology and influence between the SCLC and other groups were unavoidable, but King's prestige ensured that non-violence, although not universally popular, remained the official mode of resistance. In 1963 he led a massive civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, and organized drives for black voter registration, desegregation, and better education and housing throughout the South. During these non-violent campaigns he was arrested several times. He led the historic March on Washington, August 28, 1963, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, where he spoke of his dream for a different America. In 1964 King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforst in the civil rights movement. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was not discourage, however, for as he put it on April 3, 1968, he had "been to the mountain top and seen the Promised Land". The following day King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. Some 100,000 people attended his funeral in Atlanta. A white escaped convict, James Earl Ray, was arrested for the murder; he pleaded guilty and in March 1969 was sentenced to 99 years in prison. In 1983 the third Monday in January was designated a national holiday in honour of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday; his Atlanta birthplace and gravesite were made a national historic site. This shows how Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most prominent and influential figures in the construction of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. His moral beliefs had led the African Americans to an equal superiority lifestyle today. By the start of the twenty first century, open racism had become unacceptable and African Americans were playing increasingly significant roles in all aspects of United States life. At the same time, the Civil Rights Movement has yet to succeed in overcoming the prejudices that were built up across many generations. TULIP DAS 1 ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

A solid response to the given question; and provides a clear and definitive answer. However, I feel there is too much 'background info' (wiki-drivel) at the start which isn't great. The main focus should be on what MLK did ...

Read full review

Response to the question

A solid response to the given question; and provides a clear and definitive answer. However, I feel there is too much 'background info' (wiki-drivel) at the start which isn't great. The main focus should be on what MLK did and evaluating his impact on the movement throughout. For example, discussing the 'March on Washington', his skills as an orator as well as some percieved negatives (Selfish? Womaniser? Hypocrite?).

Level of analysis

Fairly good, high level of biographical information as well as detail of certain events during his campaign and their overall impact. I would like to see a few comparisons to other significant leaders, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and W.E.B Du Bois explored further. Why did you choose King? However, on the whole, a decent level of analysis here.

Quality of writing

Good. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are all sound and the essay itself is well organised. However I would advise a more concise order which allows an examiner to clearly identify your view, reasoning and conclusions.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by garethevans 31/08/2012

Read less
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. "Why did relations between the USA and USSR change in the years 1945-49?"

    The Berlin Blockade of 1948-1949 was a major stepping stone in the road to the collision of Russia and America. Due to the causes of the blockade, it lead to an even stronger hatred between the two sides. The fact America wanted its zone of Germany along with Britain and

  2. Mahatma Gandhi

    He did not like all the fame he had been getting; he wanted to live like the poor people of India, out in the country. He started travelling through India on the train and third class wagons. Doing this, he saw what the real life was like for the less fortunate people of India.

  1. The Civil Rights Movement Project

    Then there was a further court action, the Governor of Arkansas withdrew the guards and left the black teenagers unprotected against a violent mob of white students and adults surrounding the school that were determined to prevent the black students from entering the previous all white school.

  2. The two stories "The Loons" by Margaret Laurence and "Borders" by Thomas King demonstrates ...

    But you have to be American or Canadian." (King, 191) The mother's pride caused her to leave and return. She refused to say that she was Canadian, because she was not and the boy was too young to understand this.

  1. Free essay

    Do humans still have their rights?

    "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation" From the outset King is showing his views on identity. These two lines are a powerful opening to the speech; here King has

  2. Film analysis- Anna And The King

    Chow is Asian while Foster is western. Their appearances are very different; Chow has yellow skin, black hair and eyes. Foster has white skin, brown hair and green eyes. Just by observing their distinct appearances may reveal that cultural conflicts are bond to occur between the King of Siam and the English schoolteacher.

  1. Martin Luther King Jr.

    education qualifications and they experienced negative periods in education, a good example would be Bill Gates who was a Harvard University dropout and Richard Branson who has little to no educational background before becoming successful. My view on the argument is that to become successful you need an educational background

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

    Bull Connor:The police Chief Bull Connor ordered fire hoses to be used against the protesters and police dogs to be set on the blacks. However, to overcome this problem, Martin Luther king's subsequent media pictures provided important publicity for the civil rights cause.

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