RACE ISSUES IN AMERICA 1929 – 1990 (Martin Luther King)
PEACEFUL PROTEST • Dr Martin Luther King was a pastor / minister of a Baptist Church (a vicar) in Montgomery Alabama. • He first came to prominence when he helped lead the successful boycott of the MONTGOMERY bus system in 1955, after a black woman, Rosa Parks, had refused to give up her seat to a white man on the segregated bus system. During this fight the Supreme Court declared segregation on buses illegal.
HIS BELIEFS • King believed in the non violent, direct action, methods used by Gandhi in the 1940’s to demand the British give India its independence. • He was one of the leaders of the Southern Leadership Christian Conference, which was formed to co-ordinate protests against discrimination. • Although there were several large Civil Rights groups that advocated peaceful protest, King became the most well known figure i.e. the effective spokesperson of the peaceful Civil Rights protest.
Marches 1961 – 2 - 3 • Lots were organised by MLK and the NAAPC in the early 60’s • In 1963 MLK gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. • Many whites, most from the North joined in. They were determined to achieve Civil Rights for black people.
What type of threat do you think lay between the rows of tanks and the sharpened and readied bayonets?
FREEDOM RIDES King also helped organise the freedom rides where buses with black people and white people sitting next to each other drove through Southern states in protest. Often the buses were attacked and damaged.
The peaceful marches and protests offered by King and his supporters were often met with violent reactions from the authorities. • How do both of the victims appear in these photos?
Despite the violence shown to them, King and his supporters refused to retaliate with violence. • His peaceful methods won him respect and international support. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel peace prize in recognition of his contribution to civil rights • Tragically in 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated whilst visiting Memphis Tennessee, sparking widespread violence and rioting.
TASK Write an obituary of Martin Luther King outlining the details of his life, his achievements and his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
The End All images sourced from The National Library of Congress. (www.loc.gov) As far as the author is aware there are no known restrictions on publication.