Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Elwood D. Watson

Committee Members

Dale J. Schmitt, Henry J. Antikiewicz


This thesis describes the significant events of the Civil Rights Movement from 1960 to 1965, examining the campaigns of Albany, Georgia in 1962, Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, and Selma, Alabama in 1965. In the wake of the freedom rides of 1960-61, Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference was looking for a way to dramatically reveal the racial injustice of the South. Stumbling into a campaign in Albany, SCLC found thr right method in the use of nonviolent direct action. While Albany was a failure, it was this campaign that led to the campaigns of Birmingham and Selma which led in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Through confrontation with law enforcement, SCLC was able to effect meaningful social change.The research for this thesis included both primary and secondary sources. Newspaper accounts, especially from the New York Times, were used as well as magazine articles. All three main chapters contain accounts by the participants, activists and politicians.

The conclusion from the research would indicate that it was through the use of confrontation with Southern law enforcement that the Civil Rights Movement was able to force the federal government act on civil rights legislation.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

History Commons