Key Events and Figures of Civil Rights: Montgomery Bus Boycott, Malcolm X, MLK

To protest I feel is to make an action or statement objecting towards someone or something which is considered out of line or is unfair. Article 19 of our human rights clearly tells us that we have the right to ‘freedom of opinion and expression’ within this it gives us the right to protest. Protesting can be sectioned into two different categories, peaceful and non-peaceful protest. Some ways a peaceful protest could be carried out by is through civil disobedience, economic and political noncooperation.

However, by taking the non-peaceful approach to protesting, some ways this could be carried out is by starting rally’s and marching in a large group to a meeting point.

A very famous, well known activist Martin Luther King Jr was involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, USA. MLK jr had a dream to end racism and to get civil and economic rights. Martin Luther used peaceful protesting to help make a social change, an example of when he had used peaceful protesting is through when he lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama on the 5th of December 1955 to the 20th of December 1956.

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott sparked from a black woman called Rosa parks who refused to move seats on the bus for a white woman, Rosa parks was arrested in result of this as the back community was segregated from the white. The boycott is when the African Americans strictly refused to use the city busses, this carried on for 381 days. This use of the peaceful protesting turned out to be quite successful as the city busses were finally integrated, letting all people sit in the busses where ever they would like and it wouldn’t matter on their race.

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However the bus stops in Montgomery were still segregated.

The Suffragists Adlai known as the NUWSS (National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies) was a british group of women in 1866 whom wanted equal political rights for men and women. The suffragists Believed in the peaceful way of doing things and as the suffragists used peaceful protesting to make a social change, what they had done was start a petition which gathered over 1500 signatures in helping toward women and men getting equal political rights. When the suffragists turned up to the parliament with the petition, two MPs: Henry Fawcett and John Stuart Mill had knocked it back and had rejected the petition. The suffragists in this time turned out that their efforts had failed as they could not get the vote for the British women.

The suffragettes founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, another British group of women with the same goal as the suffragists. on the other hand didn’t feel that peaceful protesting was working so the suffragettes decided to take matters into their own hands in results of this but instead with the approach of non-peaceful protesting. The suffragettes had a motto and this was “deeds not words” this made them very memorable to the public. Through non-peaceful protesting the suffragettes had chained themselves to railings, damaged public property and went on hunger strikes. To some people this method of protesting made the women look like animals and not lady-like. A large number of suffragettes were arrested but this didn’t stop them from continuing their suffrage protest as they went on hunger strike whilst in prison. As none of the suffragettes were eating on their own they had to be force-fed as they were growing weak and in poor health. The wardens had to release suffragettes who were on hunger strike for too long as it could have killed them, they were then re-arrested when they were back to better health.

Malcom X, as well as Martin Luther King jr, was a very important activist involved in the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s. The two activists had the same end goal of equal rights and to stop segregation but they both used different approaches to get there in the end. Malcom X was well known for using non-peaceful protesting methods such as rally’s, he was a very strong opinionated man who thought that it was ‘criminal’ not being taught how to defend yourself if you are the victim of ‘brutal attacks’. Malcom X spoke about how the black community have been so horribly treated by the white people and that it needs to stop, Malcom motivated people to defend themselves and fight back for their brothers and sister who are all going through the same pain and mistreatment. A memorable event within the civil rights movement was Malcom X’s speech at a rally in Harlem, he spoke about how the white man would constantly start the wrong in the city then blame it on a black man resulting in the black man being attacked and then thrown in prison. In Malcolm’s speech he said ‘the white man makes you a drug addict... the white man throws you in jail when he then sees you using drugs’. Within all of Malcom X’s violent protesting approach’s there weren’t much political change made but instead he made a lot of people aware of what’s been going on and how they could try and change it for the better.

In conclusion, to which type of protest, peaceful and non-peaceful, are more effective, peaceful protests are far more effective as lots more people aren’t scared to take part in, they are done more organised and as well as this they most likely have a better outcome with political changes actually being made. non-peaceful protests are also effective but not so much to the same extent as non-peaceful protests usually creates the wrong image of the activists. Though it does inform people very well where the problems are that need to be fixed.

Updated: Feb 14, 2024
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Key Events and Figures of Civil Rights: Montgomery Bus Boycott, Malcolm X, MLK. (2024, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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