Martin Luther Jr and Civil Rights Movement


Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), American clergyman and Nobel Prize winner, one of the principal leaders of the American civil rights movement and a prominent advocate of nonviolent protest. King’s challenges to segregation and racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s helped convince many white Americans to support the cause of civil rights in the United States. After his assassination in 1968, King became a symbol of protest in the struggle for racial justice.
In 1957 King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization of black churches and ministers that aimed to challenge racial segregation. As SCLC’s president, King became the organization’s dominant personality and its primary intellectual influence. He was responsible for much of the organization’s fund-raising, which he frequently conducted in conjunction with preaching engagements in Northern churches.
SCLC sought to complement the NAACP’s legal efforts to dismantle segregation through the courts, with King and other SCLC leaders encouraging the use of nonviolent direct action to protest discrimination. These activities included marches, demonstrations, and boycotts. The violent responses that direct action provoked from some whites eventually forced the federal government to confront the issues of injustice and racism in the South.



King made strategic alliances with Northern whites that later bolstered his success at influencing public opinion in the United States. Through Bayard Rustin, a black civil rights and peace activist, King forged connections to older radical activists, many of them Jewish, who provided money and advice about strategy. King’s closest adviser at times was Stanley Levison, a Jewish activist and former member of the American Communist Party. King also developed strong ties to leading white Protestant ministers in the North, with whom he shared theological and moral views.
In 1959 King visited India and worked out more clearly his understanding of Gandhi's principle of nonviolent persuasion, called satyagraha, which King had determined to use as his main instrument of social protest. The next year he gave up his pastorate in Montgomery to become copastor (with his father) of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Summary: The Montgomery (Alabama) Bus Boycott was a civil rights protest designed to use the African-American community's economic power to end racial segregation on Montgomery city.