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Martin Luther King was a Civil rights activist. He was also a great leader particularly for the black American people. He delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington. The march drew more than a quarter million people lobbying for congressional passage of a civil rights bill. They gathered around the Lincoln Memorial to hear the speakers. When King spoke, he effectively defined the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for justice with these famous lines: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal’.” 

He passionately urged the Congress, the law-making body of the United States, to grant the black people their legitimate and constitutionally guaranteed rights. The Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. This was the most comprehensive piece of American civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction, a twelve year period of rebuilding that followed the Civil War. It outlawed racial discrimination in public places, assured equal voting standards for all citizens, prohibited employer and union racial discrimination, and called for equality in education. 

In 1950’s America, emerging from the victories in World War II and into the shadow of the Cold War, the challenges to a racially segregated society began to emerge. Much of this was evident in the South, where the reality of a divided social order between African Americans and traditional White society became highly evident. Within this make up, religious organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Council began to challenge this social stratification with demands of equal access to social services and equality of opportunity. Protests and visible displays of outrage at racial injustice began to emerge, of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played a major role. The organized form of the protests later came to be known as the Civil Rights Movement. 

It refers to the movements that took place in America between 1955 and 1968. It was a popular movement which aimed elimination of racial segregation and racial discrimination from the American society. The Civil Rights Movement led to the promulgation of a number of important laws including the Civil Rights Act, 1964, the Voting Rights Act, 1965, and the Fair Housing Act, 1968. The movement paved the way for Negro integration into American social as well as political life. The movement played vital role in changing the social as well as political history of America.


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