The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Martin Luther King did nearly nothing to advance the black community

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/29/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 643 times Debate No: 94226
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Martin Luther King did nearly nothing to advance the black community. I would like my opponent to consider these rules before we begin.

1. There shall be no profanity
2. Please stay on the topic at hand but you are also allowed to voice some of your opinions.
3. Use as many FACTS as possible


To win this debate, Pro has to prove that MLK did "nearly nothing" or hardly anything to advance the black community. If I can prove 2-3 things that MLK has done to advance the black community, I will have won this debate.

1. MLK brought widespread publicity to major civil rights activities and efforts. This was responsible for gaining support from both the black community and white allies. It had a major impact on generating media coverage. Without this type of attention, the movement would have not picked up steam or caught the attention of law makers around the country -- especially because the treatment of blacks in the South was much different (worse) than treatment of blacks in the North.

2. MLK was undoubtedly the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Leaders are important for getting attention and inspiring change. One of the things he led was the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955. He also supported the famous strike in 1968 Memphis, where 1,300 black sanitation workers were protesting their terrible working conditions, discrimination, and low pay. They were treated unfairly compared to their white coworkers which MLK helped draw attention to and promote change (by leading, speaking and drawing the attention of prominent people who could effect change).

3. MLK greatly encouraged and emphasized the importance of non-violent protest and resistance. For instance he was instrumental in establishing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, which was a civil rights organization that supported the philosophy of non-violence [1]. He led lunch counter sit-ins where he and other blacks and whites demanded equal treatment in restaurants for people of all races. This was significant in showing how you could promote positive change without causing harm.

4. MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech is one of the most popular and well-known speeches of all time. This not only inspired the movement of the day, but has had a lasting impact on people for generations to come. While there is some controversy surrounding the origins of the speech, the fact remains that MLK's version was the most inspirational and thus significant.

5. By getting the ear of the public and lawmakers, King's efforts helped promote meaningful pro-black legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. How did this happen? In addition to leading the 200,000 person March on Washington in protest for civil rights, King led the NAACP.

"After a decade of continued lobbying of Congress and the President led by the NAACP, plus other peaceful protests for civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One year later, he signed the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. Together, these laws outlawed discrimination against blacks and women, effectively ending segregation, and sought to end disenfranchisement by making discriminatory voting practices illegal" [2].

6. "Under King"s guidance, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) peacefully organized mass protest campaigns, voter registration drives and fought for equality... The SCLC promoted this strategic effort to end the Birmingham"s segregated civil and discriminatory economic policies. The campaign began with a boycott on local businesses to pressure them to desegregate. When the boycott initially failed, King and the SCLC started 'Project C,' a series of sit-ins and marches. Although protests turned violent at some points, with Birmingham police using brutal force to control protestors, the campaign was an immense success. King"s reputation improved, Jim Crow laws ended and public businesses and restaurants became more open to African-American patrons" [2].

In short, Martin Luther King organized and led many marches for the voting right of blacks, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. His efforts came to fruition when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were passed, and most of these rights were enacted into law. This is why he was not only on the cover of TIME magazine and the most widely recognizable man of his day, but also won the Nobel Peace Prize [3]. If MLK were not a useful person and threat to white supremacy, he likely would not have been targeted for assassination. It is precisely because he was so influential and effective that he was killed for his role in the advancement of civil rights for the black community.

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