Young college students inspired the rest of the world with what they did. The boycotts and peaceful protest are some of the most memorable parts of black history. The way they were mistreated and still they didn't stoop to a lower level and fight back was very inspiring. The knew that what they were doing was for something greater, and that in the end the beatings and mistreatment was going to pay off.
Also, the showed the power of people in masses. They all stood for common ground, blacks and whites joined together for the first time. "...and all you could here is 4000 footsteps..." They demonstrated a way of solving conflict without war and violence. It shows that violence isn't the only problem solver in the world today. It's refreshing.