Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 28-01-19 10:50

Martin Luther King Jr.

- inspired by his father's (who was a pastor) drive against racial discrimation, born in Georgia

- got an education and became a Baptist minister then settled down in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife, where he became a local celebrity due to his immense oratory ability. 

- was a crucial component of the MONTOGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT of 1955, became a spokesman for the MONTOGOMERY IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION who both promoted the boycott and ensured it remained non-violent. The event catalysed social change and thrust MLK into prominence as a Civil Rights figure. 

- during his leadership of the SCLC, he made great use of the media and often met with JFK, aimed to generate sympathy for the black cause and turn public opinion. 

- the role he played in certain CRM events (Birmingham protests/the March on Washington where he delivered 'I have a Dream' - the final section of which was mostly improvised) and indeed the CRM in general was massive, as he altered both the public and presidential opinion on Civil Rights. 

- he is often cited as playing a massive role in ensuring black rights through the CRA and VRA. 

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Martin Luther King Jr. Continued

- his actions in the CRM made him the youngest to ever be awarded a NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.

- despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, black voters in the South were still struggling to vote. To counter this, MLK's SCLC and the SNCC led a march from Montogomery to Selma to inspire blacks to vote. 

- met with white aggression once again, MLK spearheaded this movement, which was supported by the President LBJ who sent in federal troops for protection - led to 1965 Voting Rights Act

- after this MLK diverted his attention from the South to the North, focussing on the poor living conditions faced by 800,000 blacks in Chicago in particular. 

- wasn't as effective at doing this as the media was more focussed on Vietnam than the CRM, the black power movement (sparked due to Malcolm X's assassination) impacted views negatively

- his legacy was immortalised upon his assassination in 1968 during his ambitious 'Poor People's Campaign', as he was losing prominence by this point. Led to the third Monday of January of every year being declared Martin Luther King day in the US, the first holiday to honour a black American. 

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Malcolm X and Black Power

- originally born Malcolm Little, harassment by the KKK (which led to his father's death in 1931) and the poor mental state of his mother led him to be put into care where he got involved in crime as a teenager. He eventually got imprisoned, where he was radicalised by the Nation of Islam.

- he changed his last name to X in an abandonment of his slave name of 'Little'.

- believed blacks should use 'any means necessary' to ensure their rights. Deliberately ambiguous.

- in prison X educated himself and focussed especially on speech and rhetoric -  once he left he became a spokesman for the NOI who directly challenged MLK. Used media like King. 

- in 1964 X became disillusioned with the NOI cause and left to the Middle East, where he conversed with both black and white Muslims who taught him all men were equal. Upon his return when he was about to express this new found acceptance to the public in 1965, he was assassinated

- his death was a catalyst for the later black power movement, with activists such as Newton escalating X's black supremacist message. 

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