King established the qualities of his basic approach: nonviolence, the mobilization of black churches, appeals for white allies, and the goal of changing federal law. Supreme Court repealed bus segregation laws in 1956. King was well aware that their success was due in large part to rampant police brutality, the reporting of which stood in stark contrast to images of nonviolent protestors. King worked with several colleagues to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), through which he would lead protests and battle against segregation for the rest of his life.
The Montgomery city response to the boycotts ranged from intimidation to violence, but Dr. Though the SCLC was an organization with a devoted membership, Dr. His book, , only raised his stature, and he became a regular speaker at public events throughout the country - his earnings used to support the struggling SCLC. King did not push for large-scale desegregation or any Congressional legislation, instead focusing on support for black voting rights. King’s caution – which he would continue to practice throughout his career – upset many of his supporters, who began to believe him too willing to compromise.
Arguably the most important figure in American Civil Rights - and one of the country’s most important public figures overall - Dr. has been understandably mythologized in the decades since his death.
And yet while the details of his relatively short life do complicate that mythological portrait, they also paint a picture of a complicated but devoted man whose courage in a conflicted age has inspired such veneration. was named pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1931.
Less than a month later, four young girls were killed in a bomb attack on a Birmingham church, which intensified pressure on King to find a new battleground. Augustine, Florida, joining pre-existing sit-in protests. Though the SCLC did attain some minor legal victories in St. King left less than a year later, overwhelmed by the continuing violence and convinced that he would not find a dramatic situation there to energize the national consciousness. King was named magazine’s “Man of the Year.” This new level of stardom had its downsides. King was often away from his family, which made it easy for him to indulge in his well-documented infidelities.
Further, he had made enemies in the federal government, from the Kennedy brothers (who worried that he pushed for change too quickly) to J.Edgar Hoover, the FBI autocrat who kept a rather extensive file on King, whom Hoover believed to be a Communist. King published several other books, including , which addressed the concerns of his later career. King led the “Selma to Montgomery March” to protest segregationist actions taken by George Wallace.In 1964, the first Civil Rights act was passed, under President Lyndon B. Though he initially angered some supporters by postponing the march to await a court verdict, the march was eventually completed, pre-figuring the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was not involved in another great success after Birmingham, but he remained active, lending his support for various other causes and attempting to expand his mission into a larger campaign against poverty.King’s message of nonviolence, especially when given the option of black militant voices like those of Malcolm X. King lost much of the consensus he had worked throughout his career to build. King’s late-period mission that alienated his followers was his pronounced opposition to the Vietnam War.It would be several years before anti-war sentiment became mainstream, and so Dr.Because of his position in the community, in 1955 he was asked to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), formed by several black leaders (including his life-long ally Ralph Abernathy) to protest the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. King quickly became a fiery and devoted leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a yearlong protest wherein black citizens (the majority of city passengers) refused to ride Montgomery buses.It was during this first stage of his career as protest leader that Dr.His focus at Morehouse, however, convinced him that there was a fierce intellectual approach one could take towards Christianity and its application, and he eventually realized that he could make his mark on the world most effectively as a pastor.Before moving into the ministry, he attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1951.In 1958, while autographing copies of his book in New York, Dr.King was stabbed with a letter-opener by a mentally unstable man.