Martin Luther King Jr.'s Role in Advancing the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.A

Topics: African American, Racism, De facto Pages: 1 (360 words) Published: February 11, 2014
In the context of the period 1865 to 1968, to what extent did Martin Luther King advance black civil rights in the USA?

Looking back at the advancement of civil rights throughout the period 1865-1968, it is understandable to see Martin Luther King as the major player and leader. He was seen by many as a figurehead of the campaign, with his ‘mesmerising oratorical ability’ he gave a lot of people inspiration and a man to lead the line to the end of racism in the United States. Undoubtedly, Martin Luther King did a lot to advance black civil rights until his death in 1968, namely the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, many historians until around the 1980s were too easy to go for the king centric approach in which black civil rights started in 1955 and ended in 1968. Not to take any credit away from King, the civil rights movement far exceeded of that during this period. Of curse and with great reason, resistance to race discrimination had been developing ever since the start of race discrimination itself, but it arguably only started to pick up real pace with the 1863 Emancipation proclamation and the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868. This gave black people de jure rights across all stated, But, discrimination continued throughout this period with Jim Crow legislation and the KKK among other things, the fight continued for de facto rights. In response, many organisations emerged. These organisations attracted widespread attention and support with their mostly non-violent action, fighting for not only legislation but to gather public support. These organisations and individuals existed and made valuable progress long before Martin Luther King and continued long after his death, as cited by veteran civil rights activist Ella Baker, ‘Martin didn’t make the movement, the movement made Martin’. Outside factors cannot be understated with the media, politicians and judges being some of the few also involved. But it is natural to want to put individuals...
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