Describe the Role of Martin Luther King in Civil Rights Activity in the USA during the years up until 1968

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Describe the Role of Martin Luther King in Civil Rights Activity in the USA during the years up until 1968

  Martin Luther King was one of the leading civil rights campaigners in America during the civil rights movement. Many historians would feel that the role of King during the years 1956 to 1968 was a significant one, and that he played an important part in leading the civil rights campaign. However, there have been disagreements over whether King contributed to a great extent to the movement, and also whether his role was significant to the campaign. In this essay, I will be describing Martin Luther King’s role in civil rights during the years 1956 to 1968.

  King was brought up in a well-educated, middle class home, where both his father and grandfather were National Association for the advancement of coloured people (NAACP) activists in Montgomery. Originally King had not wanted to become a minister like his father and grandfather, but when he became minister he urged his congregation to register with the NAACP. He involved himself in the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1953), where he became known as the leader of the boycott. However the Boycott had been organised at first by the NAACP, and some people felt King took the whole of the credit. His role however was important as was the Boycott which caused the Supreme Court to declare segregation on buses unconstitutional in 1956. However, it also brought King to the forefront of the movement, and in 1957 he helped establish The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and became the president of the group.

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  Through the SCLC, King was recognised as one of black America’s leading and popular spokesmen. He began to have meetings at the white house, and began to protest through marches to gain national attention. Marches were moderately easy to arrange, but sustained campaigns for specific gains proved much more difficult for the SCLC. The group seemed poorly organised, and lack of fully salaried staff and organisation hampered the encouragement towards southern blacks to vote. Martin Luther King was a poor organiser, and evidence of this is how the SCLC gained little in the first 36 months through lack of ...

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