Who is the second greatest civil rights figure in US history?

If we accept Martin Luther King, Jr. as the greatest civil rights figure in United States history (and feel free to dispute that if you disagree), then who is the second greatest civil rights figure in United States history?

Like MVP voting in sports, there is no definition regarding what constitutes “most valuable” or in this case “greatest”. You can think in terms of the person’s impact on the law, the person’s impact on the American psyche, or whatever criteria you use to assess the person’s impact in advancing civil rights in the United States.

Bobby Kennedy comes to mind.

In terms of actual results, Abraham Lincoln.

I’d lean toward Frederick Dougglass, myself.

Hard to dispute that.

I’m a big fan of Harvey Milk, but there are probably better choices.

Ooof, we crazy humans and our obsession with lists. It all really depends on how we choose to define “civil rights figure” dunnit?

Direct impact? Indirect impact? Inspiration? Popularity?

Yeah, we already established that in the OP.

Second Frederick Douglass.

Thurgood Marshall had quite a career. Deserves to be on the list, but not sure he outshines Lincoln or Douglass.

W.E.B. DuBois deserves mention.

The royal “we?”

Yes, you did. And I ended up accidentally killing off part of my post that might have clarified a bit.

ISTM that this is little more than an IMHO thread without at least some sort of context. In all seriousness, why on earth should “second greatest” even a thing, let alone something worth debating?

Heck, LBJ belongs in contention.

Malcoln X after he moved to the Sunni faith. Had he lived longer I suspect he would have ended up pretty close to or beyond MLK and others in terms of showing racism for the stupidity it is.

Rosa Parks.

It’s hard to top freeing four million slaves, so Abe Lincoln has to be number one.

I think Lincoln deserves praise, but he was the great emancipator, unfortunately after emancipation the civil rights of the former slaves were in practice not recognized in many places of the USA.

That is why MLK get the greatest title, for dealing with the issue that had been left to fester after emancipation.

IMO one that should not be ignored (maybe third or fourth place) is Eisenhower, he ordered federal troops to protect the black children integrating a public school, the first time the federal government had sent troops to the South since Reconstruction. Then he signed the civil rights act of 1957 after proposing laws to protect the right to vote for African Americans.

I think that it was also important that none of his supreme court appointees was a southerner.

Lincoln was largely the product of generations of abolitionism before him, with too many influential figures even to list, and not only in the US. King was the product of generations of civil rights workers himself, some of whom were still alive and active during his own time. Those are still obviously the two key figures, the leaders around whom the work crystallized, but neither could have done what he did if it hadn’t been made ready to be done by those who went before.

Yes, I intentionally left the qualifications broad so as to broaden the perspectives and pool of answers. The horror. Everyone who has commented seems to be OK with those parameters, but you.

“Second” most influential civil rights leader was to acknowledge on MLK Day that it’s essentially dogma in the United States that MLK is the most important civil rights figure. Yet I specifically said for other posters to feel free to state their opinion if they disagree that MLK is the United States’ most important civil rights figure.

As with any thread, not just this one, I’ve never understood taking the time to leave comment that you don’t like the thread. If you disagree with a thread there are plenty of others to choose from.

Aren’t you all forgetting a certain Mr Washington?