Why was the Civil Rights Act (1964) signed?
Martin Luther King: Leader of the peaceful protest movement that convinced the masses. E.g. March on Washington 1963 - 300,000 people, 1/3rd white. softened Kennedy administration who initiated the ground work for a bill. King also brought media attention. E.g. Birmingham campaign 1963 - got a lot of white sympathy because of images of dogs and firehoses in the media which helped Kennedy.
Pressure Groups: King wouldn't have gotten far without a united movement. CORE - Freedom Rides 1961. SNCC - Sit ins 1960. NAACP - Brown Case and Bus Boycott. They all contributed to raising awareness.
Johnson: It was Kennedy that initiated the Civil Rights Act but it was Johnson that carried it through. Used Kennedy's death. Used to be a senator, so knew how to work the senate etc. Wouldn't have been signed without his work.
Media: Created awareness. As mentioned earlier with the Birmingham campaign. However, it was the pressure groups that campaigned which brought media attention.
How much did peaceful protest achieve 1955-68?
Civil Rights Act: Ended legal segregation E.g. ended the Jim Crow Laws. However, it didn't end social segregation so whilst in theory they were equal, they weren't.
Voting Rights Act: Ended segregation in the voting system. E.g. it removed the Grandfather clause and literary tests. Brought around through Selma campaign.
Failure in the North: Peaceful protest did not achieve much in the northern states. Peaceful protest was geographically limited, it couldn't achieve anything in the north because the issue was social segregation compared to legal segregation. E.g. Chicago campaign failed because King did not have a influence there, nobody wanted to put the money into black areas to improve housing and the riots against the protest were worse than some seen in the South.
Presedential Support: Peaceful protest helped improve the presidents opinion of black people. March on Washington - impressed both Kennedy and Johnson. It wasn't until King spoke out against the Vietnam war that Johnson stopped supporting King.
Unity of Movement: Peaceful protests gave the pressure groups of the time a focus and they could work together. E.g. March on Washington - several pressure groups attened: CORE SCLC NAACP etc. Not until 1965 did some groups radicalise e.g. CORE and SNCC. From this point, the movement didn't have any concrete successes.