Shown below is a "What would happen if?" scenario.  In this exercise, students are asked to consider a specific set of circumstances than what exist in reality.  It forces the students to consider the power of "cause-and-effect" and to allow themselves to step awy from traditional responses.  To learn more about "What would happen if?" scenarios, click here.     

The Scenario:   

   What if Martin Luther King, Jr. had never lived? 

Would the Civil Rights Movement proceed as it did?   

Where do we begin?  Click here to find out how "What would happen if?" scenarios work...










While there is no "correct" answer to the above "What if" scenario, students must prove they used a logical approach in their response.  Students need to consider the types of things that people took when they traveled west  during westward expansion.


  • "I think the civil rights movement would have happened just the same. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955, and it had nothing to do with Martin Luther King

  • "Great people emerge from specific cultural circumstances. If it wasn`t MLK Jr., it would have been someone else."

  • "Civil Rights were happening during this time.  If there had been no MLK, someone else like Malcolm X would have led the way.  The movement may have been more violet, Martin Luther King was a peaceful person and believed in nonviolent policies."

  • "Martin Luther King opened doors and was a great, peaceful leader. It is easier to get people to demonstrate peacefully rather than militantly, so think the movement would have lasted longer and cost many lives."

  • "Even in 1947 parents in South Carolina were asking for equal rights in school, (Briggs v Elliott),so someone else, like Rev. Joseph Armstrong DeLaine and Modjeska Monteith Simkins may have led the way and still brought light to racial inequality."