The Most Important Civil Rights Leaders You Never Hear About
Nikita Kruschev and Josef Stalin, the most influencial figures in the Civil Rights Movement.
We are all familiar with the romantic stories about how good overcame evil in the civil rights movement. Nights in shining armor such as Dr. King and President Kennedy fought the dark forces of racism because they were good people and racism is wrong. Now Dr. King, being an oppressed citizen had an obvious secondary motive in the civil rights movement. What many fail to apprecieate however is the mechanism of power I believe most primarily responsible for the civil rights movement amongst those who did not directly profit from it.
Starting almost immediately after the fall of Germany in WW2 the US and the USSR began competing for control of the 3rd world. The west was protecting them from the communists and the communists were liberating them from the capitolists ect. Much of the third world, as you may well have noticed, is in Africa.
From the USSR's position Africa was a very tempting prize, much of it is rich in natural resources and the largely uneducated population is easier to control (the US saw this too no doubt). Large scale invasion by either superpower would have been an absolute PR dissaster and an invitation for defection with allies and rebellion with the occupied territory. Not to mention, an invasion by either would likely have brought the other in to protect the continent (and start a big war). Political means, therefore, were much prefered. The US, however had a very large skeleton in its closet when courting African nations. It treated blacks at home like shit. The leaders of the USSR, particularly Kruschev were not stupid and took very effective advantage of this to leverage much of Africa away from the US politically. It was also using the US's horrible treatment of blacks for PR all around the third world. "See this, this is what the capitolist pig wants to do to you." They were of course correct, the US did want to treat the third world that way. To counter this effective PR campaign, and to hold onto its slice of the third world the US needed the civil rights movement, and it had nothing to do with "the right thing."
Therefore, I believe that as Glastnost was a Soviet PR adjustment to its human rights abuses being aired out, the civil rights movement was an American PR campaign reacting to it human rights abuses.