The United States of America was founded with the belief that all men are created equal, however segregation and racism divided our nation. In 1861, a bitter war broke out in the United States, threatening to tear the country apart. During the Civil War, which lasted until 1865, the nation fought over the issue of slavery, and other issues. In the end President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, giving more than three million slaves their freedom. However, after the war, many southern states passed laws limiting the rights of blacks. In both the North and the South, racism, the belief that one race is better that another, was a part of life. In all ways possible, blacks and whites were kept separate by these laws. It would take someone special to stand up for the black people, to help create equal rights for all citizens. This special person was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America.
In January, 1957, a meeting of southern black ministers was held in Atlanta, to
see what could be done to continue the baffle against racism and segregation. From this
meeting, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed, for the
purpose of expanding non-violent means to end segregation. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was elected as the SCLC's first president. Together, the NAACP and the SCLC joined
forces to help the Civil Rights Movement work in an orderly fashion.
One of the first actions taken by the NAACP and SCLC was to organize a large rally in Washington D.C. in May, 1957, to show the need for more civil rights legislation. Between fifteen thousand and twenty-five thousand people gathered for this rally. At the rally, Dr. King became the main...