Martin Luther King Jr.: Constructing a New Civil Rights and Black Freedom Movement

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” Martin Luther King Jr. states as he enunciate during the time of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the reform movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring Suffrage in Southern states. This was also a time where the grim reality of African Americans living in a discriminatory society came to surface as well. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, was a participant of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), the Albany Movement (1961), and the Birmingham Campaign. The African-American Civil Rights Movement broke the threshold of superiority of one race over another and enacted the “blacks” with the “whites” for equality. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Power Movement, which lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the Civil Rights Movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from oppression by whites. Many of those who were active in the Civil Rights Movement, with organizations such as NAACP, SNCC, CORE and SCLC, prefer the term "Southern Freedom Movement" because the struggle was about far more than just civil rights under law; it was also about fundamental issues of freedom, respect, dignity, and economic and social equality. During the period 1955–1968, acts of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience produced crises between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, educational institutions, and communities often had to respond immediately to crises, which highlighted the inequities faced by African Americans. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; "sit-ins" such as the influential...
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