Why was Martin Luther King a
significant figure in the Civil Rights
MLK wrote a book called 'Stride Towards Freedom'.
Published in 1958 and was read by students at
Greensboro, North Carolina who started the famous sit-in
of Woolworth's lunch counters which had a policy of not
serving African Americans.
"Through our pain we will make them see their injustice"
In 1959, MLK visited India. According to Coretta King, after this
trip her husband "constantly pondered how to apply Gandhi's
principles in America
By 20th Dec. 1965, the bus boycott protest came to an end due to the Supreme Court decision and
loss of revenue, segregation had been lifted in Montgomery and bus integration was introduced.
The boycott demonstrated the power of a whole black community using direct but non-violent action
1961, the interstate commerce
commission banned segregation in
interstate travel tanks to the Freedom
The SCLC was impotant because the churches that represented the
black population in the south were powerful organisations. They combined
power and influence, their poer was multiplied because of this.
King also gave his endorsement an support to the Freedom Riders. In November,
1961 the interstate commerce commission banned segregation in interstate travel
due to work of MLK Jr and the Freedom Riders
The inter-state bus terminals were
desegregated but the city simply closed
it's parks, sold the swimming pool and
integrated the library only after removing
all the seats. The local authorities had
carefully avoided violence and so had
not gained any real federal attention.
This made King realise that, "the key to
everything is federal commitment."
The Washington march was a great success around 1/4
of the crowd ere white and King's speech appealed to
white America, with references to the Declaration of
Independence and the Bible. King had managed to bring
all different branches of he Civil Rights Movement
together ad gain publicity in which; he showed he (and
the movement) had the moral high ground.
The Kennedy administration had
drafted a bill for a new civil rights
act but Kennedy was
assassinated so the new
President Johnson continued to
pus the civil rights bill through
Less than 5 months after the
last of the 3 marches,
Johnson signed the Voting
Rights Act of 1965. The act
made it illegal for states to
use voting qualification tests
like literacy test.
1955: Rosa Parks was arrested and a bus boycott was
organised. Dr King joined the boycott and was elected
president of the MIA, making him the official spokesman
for the boycott
Dr King wrote the book 'Stride
Towards Freedom' 1958
1958: He toured the country trying to get
more and ore people to join in on the
Civil Rights Movement
He joined the Reverends
Ralph David Abernathy
and Baynard Rustin to form
the SCLC - non-violent in
the struggle of Civil Rights.
"Not one hair of one head
of one person should be
harmed" MLK was elected
President of SCLC
In 1960, Lunch counter sit-ins began in
Greensboro, North Carolina. King gave his
support to the movement and in Atlanta, King
was arrested during a sit-in waiting to be
served at a restaurant. He was sentenced 4
months in jail.
In November, 1961, MLK
was invited to lead a march
in Albany, Georgia in
support of sit-ins at the
local bus station.
1963: MLK led 125,000 people on a Freedom Walk in Detroit
1963: He led a march to Washington
where he made his famous 'I have a
dream' speech. This was the largest civil
rights demonstration in history with nearly
250,000 people in attendance.
On Sunday, 7th March, 80 white people from
Alabama joined MLK on the march. State police
attacked the marchers with clubs and tear gas. What
became known as 'Bloody Sunday' cased national
1965, 25,000 marchers walked to the capital, Montgomery.