How Accurate Is It to Say That Martin Luther King’s Policy of Peaceful Protest Was the Most Important Reason for the Successes of the Civil Rights Movement in the Years 1955–68?

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Martin Luther King was one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement in the years 1955-68. He gave many speeches and conducted/participated in many peaceful campaigns in the south fighting for equal rights for African Americans. The peaceful protest method used was adopted from Ghandi, who used these peaceful methods to gain India’s independence from British rule in 1947. Firstly looking at the peaceful campaigns conducted in the period 1955-68, and their effectiveness on the civil rights movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 showed that peaceful protests could be effective. In Montgomery, Alabama, buses were segregated, and the NAACP member Rosa Parks one day refused to give up her seat, and was taken to court for her actions. Eventually after a mass boycott of the busses, the Supreme Court ruled that the busses in Montgomery were to be de-segregated. This peaceful boycott shows that the peaceful protest method could be effective in gaining the results that civil rights movement wanted. Moreover such events such as the Freedom Rides, these were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961. This eventually resulted in the desegregation of interstate busses, again another example of how these peaceful protests were helping the civil rights movement. Although these events show that peaceful protests were effective, not all of them had the same success. The Albany campaign, which involved MLK was ineffective. The police authorities used cat and mouse tactics which lead to the arrest then release of protesters so that the campaign did not create any ‘martyrs’ for the movement. This method proved that this protest method was not always effective if the police authorities used the right tactics to counter-act it. The media played a huge part in the effectiveness of the peaceful

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