How important was the role of Martin Luther King in improving the lives of Black Americans between 1954 and 1970?
Martin Luther King is the person most people associate with the black civil rights movement. This is with good reason at it is impossible to deny he had a positive effect on the fight for rights for blacks, but has his part in the long struggle for black rights been exaggerated? This essay looks at the effect he had, and compares it to the effect other people and groups had.
Martin Luther King’s main principle was non-violence; he refused to use aggression as a force to get what he wanted. He developed this technique after following the works of Ghandi, who had successfully used the same tactic in India. This tactic encouraged sympathy for the Black people from the rest of the world, as it promoted the inequalities that were around at the time, which shocked countries as America was supposed to be one of the more developed countries in the world, and its reputation as a free nation was severely damaged by the allegations that it was a racist country, and in the cold war Russians actually used this against them during the Americans campaign to liberate Russia from communism. King was very important during the Montgomery bus boycott as he organised it. It took a very charismatic and influential figure to organise this and keep it going for a whole year, as it was very inconvenient for black people at the time. However, even after the victory that came after the bus boycott, King would not settle. He set up the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also led a variety of campaigns, for example the marches on Washington and Birmingham. The speeches that King made were very emotive, and encouraged many white Americans to start supporting the campaign.
However, despite all of King’s work, he was not influential in all of the campaigns. There were many that occurred that he was not involved on. These were down to other organisations, e.g. the...