Martin Luther King And The Civil Rights Movement

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Martin Luther King remains one of the most controversial historical figures of the 20th century. Historians and modern politicians alike, challenge his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and the legitimacy of his leadership. While King is traditionally presented as a leader of the movement, Ella Baker, an African American Civil Rights activists, questions this convention and claims “the [Civil Rights] movement made Martin.” Furthermore, often portrayed as the decisive factor of social change, King’s leadership and significance in the Civil Rights Movement is largely overemphasized and his exaggerated historical importance, detracts from the myriad of social factors and local movements that propelled social change. Although Martin…show more content…
Moreover, the true start of the Civil Rights Movement began with the Emmett Till Case, as it was a tipping point for the Civil Rights movement and revealed the discrimination that oppressed African-American. Media was a medium in which African Americans can expose the evil and oppression of racial discrimination in America, and the media was to which King owed much of his social influence and publicity.
Martin Luther king played a central role in mobilising African American Communities for national activism through his leadership in religious communities and activism such as the National Council of Churches and the Montgomery Improvement Association; however, his leadership in the movement was largely shaped by local grassroot movements, which played far greater roles in national protest and activism as demonstrated by Nashville sit-ins and boycotts. Similarly to the events in Montgomery, the Nashville Sit- ins were led primarily by students and local activists. The grassroots leaders and students who founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee acted upon their own initiative, and although the movement often called upon King’s leadership and oratory skills, the movement was primarily guided by self-reliant grassroots leaders. Furthermore, the students had other sources of tactical and ideological inspiration such as Rosa parks and E.D. Nixon. King used
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