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Was Martin Luther King Vital To The Gaining Of Civil Rights For African Americans?

1993 words - 8 pages

MYP Year 11 Assessment 4 - Civil Rights in the USASection 1According to Sources One, Two and Three what impact did the Jim Crow laws have upon the legal and social lives of African Americans living in the Southern States?The Jim Crow Laws enacted in the USA's Southern States between 1877-1965 legalized segregation amongst African Americans and Whites in public areas under a "separate but equal" doctrine. African Americans living in these states were denied their civil rights dictated to them in the Constitution. Source two illustrates the distinct racism these laws upheld. In the source there is a photograph of two water fountains in 1958 Mississippi, there are signs above these water fountains - "White" and "Colored". The contrast between the quality of the two fountains is notable, the "White" fountain is constructed quite well, while the "Colored" fountain displays a more rustic look. The difference between the two fountains blatantly shows that African Americans were considered second-class citizens. As well as this, Source two also has a photograph of a vending machine with the words "White customers only!" imprinted twice. In this case the extent of segregation is far worse, outright excluding African American customers. This falls neither under the "separate" or "equal" ethos of the Jim Crow Laws.To prevent the mixing of races, under the Jim Crow Laws "The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro, Mongolian, Malay or Hindu shall be null and void". Additionally to being unconstitutional, the prevention of interracial marriages, even by choice displays a strong desire to keep colored and non colored races separate.Source one is an excerpt of the recollections of Clifford Boxley, a resident of Natchez, Mississippi. The life he describes is much akin to a slave rather than an American citizen. African American men were not to "mess"," talk back to" or "sass" white women. As well as this, they were only allowed to discuss the issues of work, securing their place as a working class. Boxley's final sentence very well describes the low social standing African Americans were born and forced into; "Whether you considered that to be unfair or not, it's not a fair question, because it's not a question of our childhood."Word count: 332Section 2Using the sources below and your own knowledge discuss: "Martin Luther King was vital to the gaining of civil rights for African Americans"Martin Luther King was a great contributor to the black civil rights movement and a key player. Through his use of non-violent protest and excellent speeches he was able to garner the support of both African Americans and whites alike. However despite his astounding charisma, he was not a one man campaign. There were other factors that contributed to the abolishment of racial segregation such as organizations, events and people. While King very strong catalyst in galvanizing and propelling the civil rights movement forward to ultimate success, he was not solely...

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