Courseworks

Why did the effectiveness of the black campaign for equality decline 1965-68 (40 marks)

The Civil rights campaign had been in full swing during 1960-64 as they were using new methods of protest but by 1965/66 the campaign had lost its flair as the protestors appeared to have exhausted a lot of peaceful methods which were initially used and were being largely ignored. 1965 may be seen to mark the beginning of the end of peaceful protests as during this year more and more riots started to break out, initiated usually by black citizens. The government then digressed from the subject of Black Civil rights and this gave radicals an opportunity and reason to rise.Martin Luther King, a figure head for the black campaign for equality, had been publicly fighting successfully for the cause since around 1955; he had campaigned successfully in the south and decided to spread the movement to the north. However he was entering uncharted territory and had limited knowledge of the area, he assumed the north would be the same as the south in terms of tackling the problems; this was not the case. He began in 1966 in Chicago and moved into the slums to demonstrate his empathy and understanding of what life was like for the poverty stricken blacks. The react from northerners, even blacks, wasn’t at all what King had expected.The violence displayed by the black people was formidable, despite the fact king had always pulled out of marches if he or his followers were in danger; he carried on with the march in Chicago. This violent reaction from black people showed an obvious lack of support for Martin Luther King and his philosophy and showed a general decline in the effectiveness of King’s protests, especially in the north. This may have been due to King’s lack of planning and awareness of what went on in the north and ultimately may have been a sign that king was growing weary and had no clear plan for the future of the movement which was obviously going to result in failure.King’s philosophy had always been to engage in peaceful protest but towards the latter stages of the 60’s some followers were getting tired of not seeing enough change brought about by this attitude. By 1965 Malcolm X had established the Muslim Mosque Inc. (founded 1964) and young radical black activists were joining his followers as he explicitly displayed his pro-black nationalism attitudes; he didn’t want integration, he believed blacks could only develop by themselves. He also warned the government that if they did not act quickly there would be a wave of violence from his followers. Although this may have worried the government, they could not be seen to bow down to terrorist tactics and therefore weakened the campaign as the blacks would lose sympathy and co-operation that they had built up from the use of non-violence.The rise of Malcolm X and black power ultimately caused splits within the movement. The SNCC elected a new chair person in 1966, Stokely Charmichael, who was associated with more militant ideas and supported black power quite strongly. This new chair person caused several people to leave the organisation which obviously showed splits occurring in the movement which would ultimately lead to a weakening of the campaign overall. The NAACP also supported the violent groups financially which would have angered members who were still against any form of violent protest. These splits meant that the movement became divided and some blacks became very hostile towards other black people with different ideas, the movement was never going to progress without popular support for one idea.By 1965 the Vietnam War had become a focal point of the government’s attention and they began to digress from the subject of black Civil Rights so a lack of governmental support weakened the overall effectiveness of the campaign. Also, Martin Luther King began to express his views of the war, which did not please the government or the public. He spoke of his view that US were fighting in Vietnam for the wrong reasons and they had killed over one million Vietnamese unnecessarily. So as well as the strong hatred from white southerners, King now received a less than sympathetic reception from mainstream media; one newspaper even went as far as to say he had “diminished his usefulness to the cause.” Without any support or positive coverage from the media, the campaign for equality couldn’t be effective because their main methods involved using the media to expose hatred towards them therefore provoking sympathy. In spite of King’s comments about Vietnam, it was unlikely he was going to receive any more American popular if he bad-mouthed their government.To conclude, in 1968 the movement lost their main figure head when King was assassinated at the age of 39. Following his death, the campaign didn’t seem to progress any further; in fact it took a back step as there were over 100 riots after his death. Then in 1970 the SNCC, the main black civil rights organisation, ceased to exist. The effectiveness declined during 1965-68 mainly due to the campaigners own wrong doing and King stepping out of line, ultimately, they brought about their own campaigns demise!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
x

Hi!
I'm Jamie!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out