The Martin Luther King Jr. movement and protests inspired college students around the country to become active in the struggle for civil rights. College students across the nation were invested in social justice and saw themselves as allies of African Americans seeking equal rights, joining boycotts, marches, sit-ins and other forms of direct action (Stuckey 2018). University campuses became hotbeds of activism where student leaders such as Ella Baker at Shaw University or Diane Nash at Fisk University organized mass protests that put pressure on national decision makers (Power et al., 2019). During this time period college students also joined forces with CORE(Congress Of Racial Equality), SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) which provided a platform to support African American leadership in pushing for social change through nonviolent direct action(Wright 2017).
Of particular significance was the “Freedom Riders” who took part in a 1961 protest campaign against segregation practices on interstate buses. The group was comprised of both black and white activists from various universities including Howard University, Atlanta University, Spelman College and Fisk University among others (Hodges & Rossenwasser 2011). Freedom Riders protested segregated facilities by boarding buses together without regard to race designation which resulted in arrests along with violent attacks from angry mobs. This noncompliance with Jim Crow laws led to nationwide attention to the issue which forced local governments to act upon ending these oppressive policies.(Kerner 2020).
How did college students become engaged in the Martin Luther king jr movement and protests?
Although Freedom Riders endured considerable hardship they succeeded in raising awareness about racial oppression while encouraging people everywhere to take risks when fighting injustice. These brave individuals gave campus activists an example of determined resistance through their courage despite facing potential danger. This significant event brought attention to how deeply entrenched inequality had become throughout society although it would be several years before major legislation such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act would come into effect(McAdam 2000).
Overall college students played an important role during this era by providing essential support towards ensuring that civil rights prevailed over bigotry . Through rallies, speeches , training sessions , fundraising campaigns and freedom rides these young citizens made sure their voices were heard along with those advocating for change . It is due largely due to their bravery that meaningful strides have been taken towards achieving full equality for all Americans regardless of race or gender .