Martin Luther King and Civil Rights


The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Began after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus.

Lasted for almost 400 days.

Violent response from whites - firebombed houses of 88 black community leaders.

Was it only King responsible for the victory??

No, Rosa Parks - started because of her.

The media - the boycott wouldn't have been successful if it hadn't been broadcasted.

1 of 4

Greensboro sit-ins

1960, 4 students demanded to be served at a whites only lunch counter.

More and more students got involved - on the 5th day there were 300 students.

By April about 70,000 people had used the sit-in tactic.

Who was responsible for this?


The media - good publicity on TV

Although MLK didn't know about the sit-ins until a member of the SCLC told him, people argue that his non-violent methods were used and that he had inspired the students to remain peaceful.

2 of 4

The March on Birmingham

Media played a HUGE role in this:

e.g. on the first day there were only 22 protestors, but 1000s had lined the streets. It was reported in the newspaper that all of the spectators were protestors, so after this many more people got involved.

e.g. Photo of Walter Gadsden being attacked by a police dog - this photo was published in almost every newpaper in the country. However, the photo isn't what it seems:

- Gadsden was a spectator, not a protestor

- The dog's lead is taut as if the policeman is trying to pull it back

- Gadsden is steadying himself on the policeman's arm so he can kick the dig away

-> Wyatt Walker said 'Sure people got bit by dogs. I'd say at least 2 or 3. But a picture is worth a thousand words.'

This photo got the world behind civil rights - shows importance of the media.

3 of 4

So, was it just Martin Luther King?

Rosa Parks in MBB

Students in sit-ins


Presidents involved in actually changing laws


Although he wasn't directly involved in everything, he had the biggest impact by organising some of the largest protest marches, and being inspirational by sticking to n-v protests.

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The USA - twentieth century change resources »