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Internal Divisions In The Civil Rights Movement In The 1960s Plan

593 words - 3 pages

How far was the effectiveness of the civil rights movement in the 1960s limited by
Internal divisions?
Firstly mention the successes of the 1960s
* Greensboro Sit-ins 1960, This protest was very effective; it successfully desegregated the Woolworths store by the end of 1960 and all of Woolworths by 1961. By the end of 1962, 700k people protested and 810 southern towns desegregated something which helped to start the erosion of the Jim Crow Laws.
But, the foundations for divisions were set, SNCC accused the SCLC of keeping donations and they were displeased with Kings top-down leadership. NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall called SNCC a ‘group of crazy coloured’. Although this didn’t affect this campaign, the co-operation was unsustainable and could be seen as the beginning of the end.
* Freedom rides 1961, This again was successful in the respect that Supreme Court rulings MORGAN V VIRGINIA ...view middle of the document...

* Voting Rights Act 1965 outlawed voting blocks and helped over 200,000 people in the south vote within a year.
* Civil Rights Act 1968 outlawed housing discrimination.
But these weren’t campaigns; they were federal acts so it was impossible for divisions to affect this.

The main divisions were caused by questioning the role of peaceful protest. This is shown in the early 1960s when Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam promote self defence by using force against whites and wanting black separatism. This is perhaps, at the beginning an ideological difference, but events in the campaigns i have mentioned and the horrible violence used against black protestors played a part.
These divisions carried on into the mid 1960s when SNCC and CORE radicalised, this limited the effectiveness greatly, due to how they excelled at grassroots activism and SNCC in particularly were a young and energetic group. CORE and SNCC achieved nothing of any significance once they radicalised.
Black power and the Black panthers were then on the rise, they were the polar opposite of Kings ideology of how to gain equality. This was the biggest division. They stopped King moving north and limited King to the South. The failure of Chicago 1966 was down to a division over tactics. This divisions led King to radicalise and modify some of his views (this is shown in the poor people’s campaign of 1968, Kings radical demands and his shift to economic changes which strongly weakened the civil rights movement), he spoke out against the Vietnam war which lost him huge support, the violence of the Black power movement and Black Panthers lost much white support, and white support was vital in gaining equality and federal intervention.

Then in 1968, King was assassinated and the civil rights movement was in a mess and bitterly divided over future tactics. Then the black power movement took control of the movement and they achieved very little, so to conclude, towards the end of the 1960s, these small divisions grew into massive divisions and were the main contribution to the end of the civil rights movement.

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