Martin Luther King was one of the most important leaders of the American Civil Rights movement. His efforts towards the desegregation of busses in Montgomery, ending some segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, and the gains made through the Washington March of 1963 stand out as his main contributions. He also encouraged the use of non-violent protesting which was highly successful. His “I have a dream” speech touched the hearts of Americans and will be remembered all over the world. His contributions were extremely important in the advancement of black civil rights. There were problems of mistreatment of blacks on city busses in Montgomery. Blacks were spoken to rudely and made to give up their seats if whites wanted them. They would also have to sit up the back. King was chosen as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), which directed the bus boycott. The boycott lasted more than a year. King made a positive impression on whites outside the south. In February 1956, the federal court ruled in favor of the MIA, ordering buses to be desegregated. King had become a national figure. He wrote a memoir of the bus boycott, which increased his national influence. In 1957 King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This was an organization of black churches and ministers that aimed to challenge racial segregation. King was SCLC’s president and was a dominant intellectual influence. He was responsible for much of the organization’s fund-raising. SCLC sought to dismantle segregation through the courts. King and other SCLC leaders encouraged the use of nonviolent direct action to protest discrimination. These activities included marches, demonstrations, and boycotts. This provoked from some whites, violent responses and eventually forced the federal government to confront the issues of injustice and racism in the South. In the early 1960s King led SCLC in a series of protest campaigns that …
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