In what era was Martin Luther King spokesman for the Vivil Rights Movement?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.  Under the idea enhanced by the Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, which helped to make racially segregated orders the law of the land, individuals in the position of power helped to make "separate, but equal" translate into separate and unequal.  Within this makeup, 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.  Even after the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which demanded an end to segregation in public facilities with "all deliberate speed," racial segregation in all parts of the country, most visible and institutionalized in the South, existed.  Protests and visible displays of outrage at racial injustice began to emerge, of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played a major role.  When Rosa Parks refused to cede her seat to a White rider on a city bus, Dr. King and others organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which helped to bring about social change to the Montgomery, Alabama public transportation services.  This catapulted Dr. King to be seen as a major spokesperson on the issue of social justice and the dream of integration.  The 1960's, a decade highlighted by social change, saw Dr. King become the penultimate leader of Civil Rights with his speech, "I Have a Dream," and constant activism in the name of social and racial justice in America.