Free Essay: Strategies Adopted by Civil Rights Leaders

Published: 2023-03-27
Free Essay: Strategies Adopted by Civil Rights Leaders
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Discrimination Government Martin Luther King
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 899 words
8 min read

The civil rights movement utilized several strategies. First, black people staged defiance in buses as a sign of protest. Their arrests prompted and spurred an organized civil rights movement that was staged in courts and streets. Notable leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were strong proponents of non-violent demonstrations on the streets, which galvanized the people to join.

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They also used boycotts and mass sit-ins to compel the government and states to implement the 14th Amendment. Civil disobedience was part of the movement and included freedom rides, protests, and general disruption of transport in the streets. Marches and walks around the street, such as the Selma-Montgomery march, had widespread acclaim and support as it remained mostly peaceful despite the violence meted out on demonstrators by police officers. Riots were also part of the civil rights movement, such as the Watts riots and the nationwide riots in 1967 (Cozens, 1997).How civil rights activists brought the movement to national attention

While the movement started with individuals, certain events gave the movement momentum, such as the Emmet Hill lynching and the arrest of Rosa Parks (Cozens, 1997). The media covered these events giving the movement a voice. As the movement gained traction, more people joined, figureheads of the movement emerged, and it became even more difficult for the nation to ignore it anymore. Some protests, riots, and demonstrations occurred at a national scale, further giving the events and the cause credibility.

Evolution of the movement

From the early 1900, the civil rights movement was alive, focusing on education, legal mechanisms, and lobbying. Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were making strides, including the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education case. At the pinnacle of the civil movement, the organization carefully orchestrated a narrative that had been simmering for years among minorities and black people (Wikipedia contributors-civil rights movement, 2020).

The figureheads of the movement wanted to use unifying themes by bringing faces that represented the struggle, such as Oliver Brown and Rosa Parks. As the movement continued to achieve success with litigation, the public grew bolder and participated in riots en masse. The civil disobedience that started with a few figures gained regional and later national momentum speeding up legal and lobbying efforts.

Reasons why the federal government was reluctant to support the movement

Privileged white people dominated the federal government. Political elites and other beneficiaries of the status quo that the movement sought to overturn were unwilling to cede their advantage. For example, the school system favored elitist white populations. Allowing black minorities to enjoy the same privileges of education threatened to expose every child to a level playing field in the job market, social life, and political power.

Role of the federal government in the civil rights movement

As the movement gained momentum and success, the federal government facilitated the transitions. For example, several landmark pieces of legislation sponsored by the federal government became law, including those outlawing discrimination against color, sex, religion, race, and national origin. Although the government was accused of overlooking gross violations of the human rights of minorities, the civil rights movement still depended on the goodwill of the government to crush resistances such as the Ku Klux Klan. The federal government institutionalized the changes, including oversight and enforcement of desegregation, enfranchisement, and respect for all.

The successes of the movement

The biggest battles that the civil rights movement won were legal. The movement managed to end the racial segregation and entrenched it in the law to make racial segregation unlawful. In retrospect, the desegregation of schools, buses, and public places was possible through the movement. Another battleground that the movement sought to win was the disfranchisement of blacks and the poor, including poll taxes. The passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the pinnacle of the battle against disenfranchisement (Cozens, 1997). The movement also managed to bring universal suffrage to the masses. All Americans were eligible to register as voters and exercise their democratic rights. It also became illegal for anyone to exploit others by giving them equal rights and privileges in housing, education, and the workplace.

Why did the movement eventually lose momentum?

As the movement won more battles on the civil and legal front, some people seemed content with the gains. The movement started to lose ideological grounds. With no segregation, voting rights restored, and freedoms of equal access guaranteed, there was not much to unite the masses. The well-attended marches, riots, and protests started having fewer people. The assassination of crucial members of the movement, such as Malcolm X by fellow civil rights factions also brought sharp differences between the leaders and figureheads of the movement. For example, the black power movement was often divisive with major figureheads such as Martin Luther King Jr. criticizing the movement. The assassination of Martin Luther King was also a significant blow to the movement as he personified the intellectual and political aspects of the civil rights movement (Wikipedia contributors-black power, 2020).


Cozens, L. (1997). Civil Rights Movement, 1955-1965. Available from

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, February 6). Civil rights movement. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:58, February 7, 2020, from

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, January 27). Black Power. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:57, February 7, 2020, from

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