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Why were the civil rights protests across the USA effective in the years 1945-1968 and less effective thereafter?

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Introduction

Why were the Civil Rights protests across the USA effective in the years 1945-1968 and less effective thereafter? There were many examples of how the protests were successful such as the Brown vs. Board of Education case and the events at Birmingham. There were also many factors that lead to making these events successful. However they did become less so, as Watts Riots and the happening in Chicago prove. Martin Luther King Jr was one of the key factors to the success the Civil Rights movement achieved. He was a great leader and had an ideology of non violence and confrontation that worked. He was lucky enough to come from a wealthy middle class family, whose name was well established in Atlanta, and to have had a good education. He was a smart student, who skipped two grads before entering an Ivy League college at the age of 15. He was class valedictorian with an A average. His home environment was full of love and dreams, where they had strong values which showed a sense of self worth. Through the upbringing that he had, he adopted an ideology of how black and white people would live together as equals. He wanted to gain self respect, high moral standards, hard work and leadership among the people. He also believed in going through the legislative process to make changes and although he knew it would take time, he was looking to the future, and at the long-term effects of his actions. ...read more.

Middle

King, being a sermon himself, used to use the church to preach to his parishioners, making them believe in themselves, promoting non-violence and trying to fight segregation. The civil rights protests did, however, become less effective. This was due to different factors. For a start the aims of the campaign changed. Where they once used to be political, trying to pass bills and get court decisions like that of the Brown vs. Board of Education, they became more social and economic. It caused problems in that the political and legal reforms did not need huge amounts of money for them to be successful. For the social and economic reform that was wanted, such as adequate housing, a decent school with adequate facilities and an equal chance of satisfactory employment, would require large amounts of money. The process would take a long time as they were very deep seated problems and it involved a racism that was hidden and therefore more difficult to identify and deal with. It was easier and quicker to allow black people to vote then it would be for social and economic reform. The methods also changed as they became more violent. They adopted the tactics of Malcolm X, who through his experiences, wanted to develop the black community, making it independent and free from the dependency of the white people and to do better than the whites. ...read more.

Conclusion

They lost all white sympathy, although there was doubt that it was there to begin with. King had come across the most deep seated racism he had ever met and the white people would not allow his ideas. There were no changes made, or improvements promised, thus making it a complete failure. The last factor that caused the protests to be unsuccessful was the context. A lot of the success was supposed to be due to the relationship between President Johnson and King. The relationship changed though, when King felt morally compelled to speak o against the Vietnam War. Not only was the scale of fighting and suffering something he thought should be condemned outright, but like with the Second World War, black men were all of a sudden seen as equals to fight on the front line for their country. The war was also taking money away that could be used to help solve the social and economic problems at home. King kept his silence for as long as he could but in New York's Riverside Church, in a powerful speech, he spoke of the war as being uncivilised and wicked. The relationship with the president took a downturn there after. The civil rights campaign had been very effective with many achievements made; however, things did take a turn for the worst when the situations and ideas changed. What the leaders had been used to and successful at had become different and they were no longer able to make the changes that were wanted and needed, making them, after 1968, less effective. 1 ...read more.

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