MLK played a pivotal role in desegregation during the 1950s and ’60s. As a social activist, he led the civil rights movement in support of racial equality.
MLK’s non-violent approach and appeal to white middle-class citizens alienated many Black militants who believed that equality and justice needed to be attained by “any means necessary,” including violence. The Black Power movement of the 1960s and ‘70s encouraged black Americans to focus on creating economic, social, and political power of their own while ignoring the need for integration.
In August, 1963, MLK and his supporters organized a massive protest, known as the historic March on Washington. About 250,000 protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial demonstrating for freedom and equality. It was here that MLK delivered his famous “I have a Dream Speech,” which served as a catalyst for the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
MLK’s non-violent activism resulted in significant strides toward racial equality, helping end racial discrimination in public places and tear down barriers that made it difficult for blacks to vote. And he accomplished all this without burning a single building or throwing a single punch; instead, he used the power of rhetoric coupled with a deep vision toward serving the greater good.