To what extent was Martin Luther King the significant factor in the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 and 1968?
Within the Civil Rights era, Martin Luther King was seen as a major part of the Movements because of his campaign work. He is thought to have been the inspiration and the “hero” of the desegregation in America. Martin Luther King had an individual philosophy based on his religious beliefs as a devout Christian. He based his protests on the teachings of Jesus and examples of Ghandi’s behaviours. He also believed you should love your enemies and not retaliate. His main aim whilst protesting was to gain direct action yet to stay peaceful. Looking at the evidence from the campaigns Martin Luther King was involved in, it shows that he wasn’t as significant as he is said to be regularly. Going through his campaigns shows that he was the “face” if the Civil Rights Movement rather than the significant factor. The protest in which King first became noticed was the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in 1955 to 1956. This was led originally by E. D. Nixon who wanted Claudette Colvin. In the end they used a woman named Rosa Parks to initiate the boycott that would then last around a year long. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger, which is what they had to do as a black citizen. Doing this was direct action, and this boycott later established the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). The MIA is where we first saw King, as this group worked through the churches and had a non-violent aim. The significance of this protest was that King came into the light and showed the black people he had leadership qualities that stood out above all other things. However at this moment in time it’s fair to say that King had no authority and the black people in the communities still held the power. This protest also brought about the court case of Browder V Gayle in 1956. This changed the laws of segregation on buses as a protester, Aurelia Browder,...
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