Free How Did Martin Luther King Use Media to Make the Movement so Successful? Essay Sample

In the scientific world, for several decades, there is a quite intense theoretical discussion regarding the formation of a new social structure, way of life, the builders on the knowledge and information. Such a society in political theory has been called the information. It is understood that each researcher strives to bring his/her unique opinion on the problem of the theory of the information society by means of studying the contribution of media space in the numerous historic events which took place in the history of humankind. It is primarily due to a discrepancy in the interpretation of the concept of the information society. One of the stages of the humanity’s development is the freedom movement of the Afro-American and African people led by Martin Luther King. One of the most topical questions which the historians develop in the paradigm of the movement’s evolution is the way the various media helped the leader of the movement to succeed in achievement of the essential purposes. Therefore, the paper claims that, regardless of the lack of media tools in the time of King’s actions and in spite of their inaccessibility, the leader of the movement had used some of the opportunities to promote his ideas and unite people to achieve the aim of the movement.

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Regarding the role of the mass media during the period of the Civil Rights Movement, it is possible to figure out that in general, broadcasting in Africa, as well as periodicals, appeared due to the efforts of the colonial authorities, who quickly assessed the possibilities of radio as an effective means of communication between the metropolis and its overseas territories. Initially, Radio Africa also was of an elitist character and was more focused on living in the African colonies of the Europeans. However, in the remoteness of colonies from the metropolitan radio possessed an incomparably greater capacity than the periodical press, which was delivered within a colony with a large delay. In the framework of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King t swiftly turned broadcasting into an effective channel of communication, by which the colonial authorities promoted its policy in Africa and – seldom – the leader of the movement had a chance to promote his ideas of liberation and civil rights non-violation.

One of the major aspects promoted by King via media was desegregation. The leader of the movement referred the desegregation to the adopted in the name of the US movement against discrimination of African Americans. The term actually appeared in the period after the American Civil War (1861-1865). In southern states of the USA, there were a number of laws on segregation adopted, providing for the separate existence of facilities for whites and blacks. It was done only by the means of active attempts to use media (in at least the mere cases when Martin Luther King was permitted to use ones). In this regard, in 1896, the US Supreme Court recognized the constitutional law on the division of the Louisiana facilities for whites and blacks in the trains. After creating in 1909 the National Association of Advancement of Colored People, Americans began to seek the abolition of segregation, but met fierce resistance from state authorities and the white share of population of organizations, especially in the southern United States. In 1948, President Truman issued an order to put an end to segregation in the armed forces. However, only the movement in defense of the social rights in the course of the 1950-1960s resulted innumerous social reforms. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled against segregation in schools. All these ideas could be introduced only by uniting people in a homogeneous mass, which would be guided by a leader. It was possible only by the means of at least a minimal usage of media which were spread that time.

An enormous role was played by the attempts of Martin Luther King to attract people’s attention via media. In the course of 1955-1956, he led a boycott of public transport in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, and then segregation in this city was banned. He achieved this by spreading the secretly printed short newspapers. To do so, King founded the so-called ‘Southern Christian Leadership Conference,’ and launched a nationwide campaign for civil rights. Using the same approach of printing the newspapers, he organized a peaceful march to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC attended by 200 thousand people. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Martin Luther King opposed the war in Vietnam, with the support of the poor. He began organizing the poor people’s marches in Washington, but was assassinated in the city of Memphis, Tennessee.

A major role in the desegregation had been played by the fights for freedom. Since 1961, the activists had fought against segregation in the rented buses, in which white and black together toured the southern states. The media used were pamphlets and caricatures published to show the Afro-American population that they are equal with any other nation and should be treated in such a way. When distributing such media, they were mostly volunteers from the North. Often they were arrested and attacked by white Southerners. King, when organizing the media-based or media-related activities, such as flights freedom and other forms of protest, led to the adoption of laws on civil rights and election rights. According to t, they were supposed to have deprived the legislative framework and put an end to the segregation of humiliating tests on literacy. However, the black ghettos in cities in the US and stratification by race survived. Successful fight against segregation contributed to the movement of “Black Power!,” which was formed in the middle of the 1960s in the United States. Cooperating with Martin Luther King, the movement’s purpose was a struggle for civil rights that Afro-Americans need to be ruled not by the white-skinned liberals. Supporters of the movement participated in the riots the mid-late 1960s. In the early 1970s, the movement of “Black Power!” became part of the national movement in the United States against the Vietnam War which was supported by King in all means of media.
In the process of the birth of the liberation movement journalism is important. During the Civil Rights Movement, the press published materials, which were aimed at the development of national consciousness among the African people and their education. As a result of this process in the 1960s, after the conquest of colonies independence, the media had been actively developing; the news agencies had been releasing a lot of publications in national languages. First, the radio had been at the forefront. In the 1970s, its primary goal was education. Then, this process had been connected to TV, which also created a variety of educational programs. Various television projects occurred with the active participation of the United Kingdom and France. The other countries were also actively handed in the development of African media to support the King’s movement and promote his ideas. It was very beneficial because printing started to develop somewhat slowly. The population was rather high percentage of illiteracy, while the qualified specialists in this field were also missing, as well as funds for the high-quality newspaper articles and equipment.

In the 1960s, strengthened the position of the press in the national languages appeared and promoted the ideas of King to the extent they were permitted to. There were some national information agencies, created the Association of African journalists. In 1965, the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA), united Arab news agencies which were 16 countries were created. Later, in May 1983, the Pan-African News Agency (PANA) was launched. It was known to include news agencies and services of the 40 African countries. PANA stood against tendencial coverage of African issues by foreign media, promoted the effective exchange between the members of the Organization of African Unity objective information about the continent of life on the basis of reports of African national news agencies.

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In the 1970s to the fore among the media extends radio that not only informs and enlightens and educates Africans. With the same purpose, King contributed to the appearance of educational programs on television. In the implementation of projects France and the UK broadcasters had been actively participating. After numerous attempts by Luther King, an important place in African mass communication had been occupied by the American, West German, Italian, Belgian, and Canadian companies. However, African countries, in order to focus national and regional efforts in the field of information, seeking to establish a Pan-African television system (PANAFTEL), the Association of the national radio and television companies, the International Union of African Journalists (MSAZH).

An incentive for this is the fact that in Africa, due to the specific conditions of development in comparison with other countries, the media had a special role in the education of civil and political consciousness of broad layers of the population, in the formation of a national community within the state borders, in overcoming ethnic hatred and manifestations of tribalism, complicating the promotion of the African countries on the path of economic and social progress. In contrast, in developing countries, problems of economic and social construction can be quickly and successfully dealt with only the efforts of all the people, for the mobilization of which is difficult to overestimate the value of TV Africa, the task is to overcome the economic backwardness and increase labor productivity, experiencing a genuine thirst for knowledge. Under these conditions, television had been at the forefront in terms of educating folk masses, to familiarize them with the achievements of science and technology, instilling the professional and cultural skills in them.

Despite the fact that in Africa, where about 70% of the population was illiterate at the time, of all media the most affordable for the masses today was the radio, while the television was developing rapidly and becoming available to an increasing range of people, gradually replacing the radio in the run television on local languages will make it possible to reach a huge audience.

Cultural policy of metropolises, which was based on the desire to involve the Africans to a foreign culture and through the creation of African intellectual elite tightly bind them and led to effects of two kinds. On the one hand, this policy has served a particular obstacle to the development of autochthonous cultures, on the other hand, contributed to the growth of national consciousness, the emergence of the African intelligentsia, led the fight for national liberation, what important role played in fledgling national press throughout the nineteenth century, wherein the media were in the hands of Europeans and published mainly in European languages The first national edition appeared in the early twentieth century (to be more precise, in the 1920s). It occurred under the influence of a changing world and as a result of the creation of the continent’s first political organization of the process of formation of the national press has accelerated.

With the rise of the national liberation struggle of press organs of political, trade union and youth organizations have come to play a decisive role in the formation of national consciousness. Moreover, they began to have some positive impact on the metropolitan policy, as sounded their pages criticism of the colonial authorities do not always cause repression by the latter, and sometimes forced them to take into account the requirements of Africans and make certain concessions. The next step was the creation of radio broadcasting and its promotion of the Civil Rights Movement. It appeared in Africa much earlier than the television did, and it was his immediate predecessor in a number of technologically advanced media. Unlike the press, radio first appeared in Africa in the 1950s (in Kenya, Algeria and Nigeria). It was fully in charge of the colonial administration and serviced exclusively by Europeans up until the declarations of independence of the African countries exceptions were a few independent radio stations, usually located outside of the country and belonging to the patriotic forces, embarked on the path of armed struggle.

The majority of African TV channels arose in the wake of the liberation movement, in an atmosphere of acute political struggle for power in the first period of independence, and awareness of the need for national self-assertion. African governments, relying on consolidating the impact of the media, took them as a result, almost all the countries where there was television, it is from the very beginning it became state property, financed and controlled over by the government. It evolved centralized structure of the broadcast that was caused by technical, financial, economic and other reasons. It occupied causes of the political and cultural order. Experts state that such a centralized broadcasting structure was a significant obstacle to account for audience requests the contrary, in our view, the creation of local stations endowed with certain autonomous rights, including at the level of programming, to ensure more effective functioning TV. Such a situation in media served as a difficulty for promotion of the King’s ideas of the Civil Rights Movement.

As a result of the national liberation movement formed anti-colonial neo-traditionalism which was mainly based on ego-centrism (negative attitude to the West) and the intrinsic value of an African model of spiritual harmony civilization without machines. It can be understood that there was the ineffectiveness of the next appeal to traditional values, has yet again demonstrated his own weakness in the collision with the outside world. It noted the inability of Africans to integrate global progress by reviving traditional values of borrowings from the outside, or an appeal to science. Such a path, which showed the progressiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, proved to be totally unacceptable to Africa. Hence, the media were difficult to transmit the ideas of Martin Luther King. Under such circumstances, the conquest of Africa’s independence in the field of audiovisual information has been more difficult than achieving political independence.


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