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The Volatile Social Upheavals of the Stormy Sixties - Essay Example

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In the paper “The Volatile Social Upheavals of the Stormy Sixties” the author analyzes the struggle for civil rights and its concomitant war on poverty, which was both fueled and tempered by the eloquent appeal of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr…
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The Volatile Social Upheavals of the Stormy Sixties
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Download file to see previous pages  The third, precipitated by default into the presidency, grappled boldly with the unrest and turmoil through a second term only to surrender the battle to highly entangled political dissolution shortly before the sixties gave way to the seventies.
 Martin Luther King Jr., distinctively honored in 1964 with the Nobel Peace Prize as its youngest laureate, had entered a civil rights movement already in progress, to take the forefront as an advocate for non-violence in one of the most momentous and far-reaching social upheavals of the decade. Yet, paradoxically, the civil rights leader's appalling assassination on April 4, 1968, unleashed an unfortunate surge of violence in major cities across the nation.
 Martin Luther King's mission reached beyond black civil rights into associated issues of inner-city poverty. In 1965 in Selma, Alabama, his voter-registration crusade culminated in the Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March. The civil-rights leader later took on Chicago where he pushed programs to clean up the slums and secure affordable housing. There King encountered young blacks heady with the concept of Black Power who gave little heed to his appeals for nonviolent protest. The impasse led to his adoption of stronger support for an end to the war in Vietnam along with the predominant thrust for civil-rights, a move that some felt spread the movement too thin. Nonetheless, the well-timed shift drew new blood into the crusade in response to the fresh bid for peace.
 As King went on to tackle domestic issues of urban poverty, proposing national boycotts and nonviolent camp-ins, he envisioned a huge march of the poor on Washington, with a show of such power and size that Congress would be forced to deal with the enormous numbers of destitute and exploited Americans, but at the age of 39 the bullet of an unabashed mercenary silenced those plans. Posterity, left to speculate what might have been, was nonetheless to profit greatly from the enduring legacy of his all-too-abrupt loss.
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