MLK's Speech and Its Effect on Local Civil Rights Movement

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MLK's Speech and Its Effect on Local Civil Rights Movement The white man won’t hand out integration on a silver platter. The history of the civil rights is often told on the national scale or following well-known figures and direct-action events such as the sit-in campaign and Rosa Parks’ famous stand on a Montgomery bus. More recently, historians have focused their research on the local level, revealing events that are not prominent, but integral to the larger scale history of civil rights in the United States. Although national power determined the “deliberate speed” of desegregation legislation, local communities determined the actual speed in which they would be enforced. Some communities pressed for immediate social change through the integration of public facilities, such as swimming pools and restaurants, while others gained prominence through the desegregation of educational institutions. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King is inseparable from the modern civil rights movement and for that purpose this paper focuses on the events surrounding a speech he made in Columbus, Georgia, in 1958 and the way it affected the civil rights movement within the local community. King’s speech and appearance are examples of the local and national movements converging for a common purpose. On the evening of July 1, 1958, Dr. Martin Luther Jr. gave a speech to an audience of over one-thousand at the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in the Liberty District of Columbus. He was invited by D.P. Nesbitt, a member of Saint James AME Church and cousin to a senior deacon at King’s home church in Montgomery. Although King had yet to reach his peak as the leading activist of his day, he was well-known for his non-violent theme and message. The succ... ... middle of paper ... ... Center Digital Archive, Accessed via, McGill, Ralph, and Cal M. (Calvin McLeod) Logye. No Place to Hide: The South and Human Rights. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1984. Ridenour, Earnestine. and Columbus College School of Education. Thomas H. Brewer and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1990. “The Forgotten Speech” Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, 15 January, 2007, A1. Tuck, Stephen G. N. Beyond Atlanta: The Struggle for Racial Equality in Georgia, 1940-1980. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary, Civil Rights: Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 5 on H. R. 300 [and Other] Miscellaneous Bills Regarding the Civil Rights of Persons Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959, 188.

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