Unit 5 Project
SS310-03 Exploring the 1960’s
March 25, 2010
This paper is meant to describe the trials and tribulations as well as the influences and effects that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had on the 1960’s and beyond.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 as Michael Luther King but changed his name to Martin in 1934. King was brought up in a morally wealthy family as his grandfather and father both served as pastors. He had a B.A. from Morehouse College and a B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) from Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania. He was elected to president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which was an active leadership group for the civil rights movement. King provided many peaceful actions including a protest in Birmingham, Alabama that he called the ‘coalition of conscience’ and led the drive for African Americans as voters. His “I Have a Dream” speech was a display of peace in front of 250,000 people in Washington, D.C. All of these events led to his receiving of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of thirty five and was the youngest to ever have received such an award. Politics
King registered as a Republican in 1956. His political ideologies stemmed from the fact that the Republicans of the time fought for civil rights and the Democrats, though they initially freed the slaves, contributed instead to the typical views of the civil rights movement and denied African Americans rights and privileges. The political ideologies of the Republican Party were the supporters of the anti-slavery laws, overall freedom and civil rights of the African Americans of the time. Unfortunately, the democrats of the time were against the civil rights at the start of the 1860’s and continued to be all the way through the 1960’s. Even President John F. Kennedy as a senator in 1957, voted against the civil rights act as well as Democratic Senator Al Gore Sr. It was the Republicans of the era that amended the constitution to grant African Americans the freedom they deserved (13th amendment) and citizenship (14th amendment) as well as the right to vote (15th amendment) after viscous battles with President Andrew Johnson following Lincoln’s assassination. Even the republicans in the 1960’s supported African American rights in law and government such as Republican Senator Everett Dirksen (Illinois), who wrote the language of the1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1968 Civil Rights Act. It has been alleged that many of the supporters of the Ku Klux Klan in the 40’s through the 60’s were democrats and a famous one in Robert C. Byrd has been uncovered. A fact displayed and uncovered by Byrd's GOP opponent in 1952’s general election campaign to the U.S. House of representatives with a letter Byrd had handwritten to (Samuel) Green, the KKK Imperial Wizard, recommending a friend as a Kleagle and urging promotion of the Klan throughout the country. The letter was dated 1946 -- long after the time Byrd claimed he had lost interest in the Klan. "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia," Byrd wrote, according to newspaper accounts of that period. (Pianin, 2005). So one can see, it would make sense for Martin Luther King to be a republican in the 1950’s and 1960’s and why he believed that that political party would be his choice to represent or back his cause. Ideologies
Personal ideologies consisted of the civil rights of the African Americans and moving them along in the social order of the country and transform the ideas and rights into something tangible. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was set into motion by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, with the written words: "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free.” the African American lack of freedom and unjust...
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