Although some people argue that white leaders like Lyndon Johnson were more important in the success of the movement, it is also easy to argue that African Americans were more important.
African Americans were more important because it was their efforts and sacrifices that put issues of civil rights on the national agenda. Leaders like Johnson would not have even cared about civil rights had it not been for the actions of the African Americans. There would also not have been the same kind of pressure for action if African Americans were not being seen on TV marching through the streets, being attacked by Southern police. In this way, it was the actions of the African Americans that were most important.