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Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement in its contemporary form started in 1955 with an act of mild disobedience by a black woman on a bus in the Deep South. Black leaders developed several strategies over the next few years, strategies that would be successful in changing laws and in getting some of the long-standing discriminatory institutions of the South changed. Between 1954 and 1965, the Civil Rights Movement developed into a major movement for social justice, societal change, and self-determination for millions of black Americans. The tactics undertaken by the movement have ranged from violent to nonviolent, with nonviolent predominating under the direction of Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers. The movement started first around the busing issue in Montgomery, Alabama, but it was also the culmination of decades of frustration nearly a century after the slave era and after a long history of continuing discrimination and ill-treatment. Black leaders did not care to wait for white hearts to change, so they set out to change them with a program of peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, and similar actions. King developed from a local preacher addressing a local issue into a major civil rights leader known throughout the world. His message of non-violence was important as a basis for the Civil Rights Movement and represented one branch of the development of a black consciousness in America in the 1960s. This period in King's life, from the bus boycott to his assassination in 1968, is treated differently by different biographers, as can be seen in The Life and Death of Martin Luther King Jr. by James Haskins and Martin Luther King Jr. by Adam Fairclough.

James Haskins has been a teacher in elementary, junior high schools, and various colleges, and he has also worked as an educational consultant. He has written several biographies. His book on King shapes the life of that leader around the Civil Rights Movement that he would be ident...

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Origins of the Civil Rights Movement. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:32, May 19, 2019, from