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Martin Luther King Civil Rights Leader

By jacktinney Apr 16, 2013 1709 Words
To what extent was Martian Luther King the most significant civil rights leader in the period between 1865-1992? It can be said that between this time of 1865-1992 MLK was a very significant civil rights leader, and in fact was the most important to the civil rights movement in this time. However there were many other leaders at the time that help progress blacks rights in the US at the time such as Booker T Washington, W E B DuBois, Ida B Wells, Malcolm X and many others, who all took apart in some way or another to push civil rights forward in the US. Some of the ways in which we can see that MLK was the most significant civil rights leader in this period is down to the fact that he is seen by many as the man who brought the blacks civil rights movement together, and was the glue to into keeping it that way. Before anything King said he was a minister and this carried with him throughout his campaign. He was seen as a great motivator and organiser, and brought together all parts of the black community, from the less educated blacks like DeBois and his following to many more. Within the year King formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, which reacted to events and set up peaceful protests. Soon King was bringing help all around America for blacks trying to gain there civil rights this is seen through his support if Ella Baker and the NAACP when they started there sit in progress which was very successful, to help the freedom rides of 1961 where he gave his support in turn showing us how MLK helped promote black civil rights at the time. One of the most important things that MLK done was to gain white support for their cause, he done this very cleverly not just be his peaceful protest which helped but because he was a minster he brang a religious side into it which in turn made many whites want to support there cause and gave MLK and the civil rights movement a big platform ti stand one when bringing the march to Washington or while talking to Kennedy or Johnson. Once they had some white support this gave them more of a chance getting congress to listen to what they wanted. One of the most significant events in MLK time was protest in Alabama Birmingham 1963, MLK knew that this would be a hard task to try and overcome but it worked, many people went out to protest however violence broke put when police in the town over reacted and got dogs and water cannons out to sort out the protesters, these violent scenes lead to Kennedy having to take federal action which in turn helped civil rights, this showing us how good of a civil rights leader MLK was to go to Birmingham when everyone else told him not to and to get federal government to intervene, shining light of their movement. This was not the only reaction from Birmingham and in turn it lead to the march on Washington in august 1963 were many civil right activist marched to Washington, this lead to one of th most famous MLK speeches on ‘ I have a dream ‘. Around 250,000 people turned up showing the massive support for the cause. This helping us to see how MLK with simple actions and words lead a great movement on Washington and how his leadership had another knock on affect to 1964 where there had been so much pressure on the US government to do something about civil rights that in 1964 the civil rights act was passed. At the time this was the peak for MLK and his campaign and thought this would change everything, however it didn’t due to many loop holes in it, however this shows us how vital MLK was to the civil rights movement in the small time he was around. With this being said MLK did not have support from everyone and wasn’t the great civil rights leader everyone thought he was at some points, this is seen through the fact the when he went to Chicago to try and gain support from the north he failed and many people had started to call him Martian Loser King or De Lawd, showing that he wasn’t loved by all. Also it has to be said that he was a great speaker and motivator of people however he was not as active as many other civil rights leader like Ida b well and Ella barker with sit ins and free ridings, or even Malcolm x with the black panthers, they all took it into there own hands to actually try and do something where as MLK was sometimes described as being to nice to th whites and should e more active. This though showing us why MLK was the overall best civil rights leader of the period. However there were many other civil rights leaders in this period that helped move civil rights on. One of these was Ida B Wells. Was a women born into slavery in 1862 in Mississippi. She became known first for challenging two myths in her writing about alleged rape of white women by black men , and the innocence of some of these white women which in turn caused an outrage and a white backlash. However she moved to New York where she expanded her views father, this lead to more people being able to hear her views and be aware of what was going in there country. However for all her good work and standing up to whites when they asked for her to move on the train she could not gain support from congress even if they where sympathetic which in turn meant that she could not take it to the supreme court for change in law. However many have seen her as one of the staring leaders of the civil rights movements and people like De Bois credited her with being ‘ the awakening of the conscience of the nation’ showing at the time what she was doing was remarkable not only cause she was black but a women as well. Another one of the main civil rights leaders around this time who has also been credited with staring the movement can be credited to Booker T Washington. So of the ways we can see he was a significant civil rights leader is the fact that we was one of the first products of the educational opportunities available after emancipation in 1865. One of his most notable achievements was the building of Tuskegee which gave the chance for many black kids to learn and get a good education. Washington saw ensuring white people that if they could be economic partners that this was the way forward. This was shown in the school as it set itself very high standards to keep up as an example that they where the same as whites, this way they could gain support. This was seen from his Atlanta speech in 1895. It was clear by this time that Washington had become one of the greater leaders of the time on civil rights and had done remarkable things to get people on his side, he was then rewarded by president Roosevelt inviting him to the white house for tea. This showing the peak of Washington’s success, even though not much was done. This in turn telling us that he had done well for his time but not good enough. Even for all the good he done he had many critics such as Du Bois, who in turn at this time was also a civil rights leader in his own right who believed that Washington was to kind and supportive of th white people who had oppressed them for generations and believed in a more direct route of trying to gain civil rights he also believed he wasn’t doing enough about segregation. Also by the end of his time Washington had fell out of favour with many blacks as after many years nothing still had been down which raised the question what had he been doing for all this time. Another great civil rights leader involved in this period was Malcolm X. he was one of the more militant leaders of the time and not that he encouraged the use of violent methods but believed in self defence from many whites. He was brought up with many family problems and from a young age turned to crime but in 1946 he went to prison but when he came out he had seen a knew light and become Muslim and changed his original name from little to X. he in turn was the complete different activist form MLK who was all about non violent protest where as Malcolm believed in winning by any means necessary to the cause, and where as MLK had failed in gaining black support in the north Malcolm did exactly that at in the ghettos and hoods, they could relate to him and understand his message he was getting across, in turn this leading to many blacks feeling they should try and do something about there civil rights and take action, this is seen through groups he inspired such as the black panthers who where a group of blacks who hoover descried as the biggest threat to national security ever. Even though Malcolm x showed a different side to trying to gain rights and gained many black supporters this was never going to be the right way to get congress and whites on your side and in turn he was assassinated in 1965. Overall though I think its clear to see that the gaining of civil rights wasn’t down to one single leader or organisation but all of them combined helped in a way to gain support for there cause, however the most successful out of each civil rights leader was MLK down to the amount of support he gained whilst alive, this is seen by the fact he won a noble peace price showing how much of an influential person he was not just now but at the tim

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