News / USA

Non-violence Was Key to Civil Rights Movement

US Civil Rights Movement Benefits From Non-Violent Strategyi
X
August 26, 2013 10:20 PM
The success of the of the American Civil Rights Movement and the fight for racial equality in the United States is a testament to millions of African Americans who fought against racial discrimination in the 1960s. Another major factor was the strategy of protesting for equal rights without using violence. Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King championed this strategy as an alternative to armed uprising. VOA's Chris Simkins has more on King's non-violent strategy.
Chris Simkins
The success of the of the American Civil Rights Movement and the fight for racial equality in the United States is a testament to the determination of millions of African Americans who fought against discrimination in the 1960s. On January 20, 2014, Americans use the national holiday to recognize the efforts of the civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King.
 
A major factor in the success of the movement was the strategy of protesting for equal rights without using violence. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King championed this approach as an alternative to armed uprising. King's non-violent movement was inspired by the teachings of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.
 
Led by King, millions of blacks took to the streets for peaceful protests as well as acts of civil disobedience and economic boycotts in what some leaders describe as America's second civil war.
 
The non-violent movement was tested in places like Birmingham, Alabama.
 
"During that period of time you had people who were being murdered, homes being bombed, churches being bombed and there was a sense that evil would prevail," said William Bell, Birmingham’s current mayor.
 
A 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama is remembered as "Bloody Sunday." Congressman John Lewis led the march.
 
"They came toward us, beating us with night sticks, trampling us with horses, releasing the tear gas,” said Lewis. “I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a night stick. I had a concussion on the bridge and I thought I was going to die."
 
Andrew Young, one of King's closest aides, called for calm against a backdrop of outrage.
 
"If we had started guerilla warfare in America’s cities, if we had given into terrorism in America, we could not have won but America could not have survived," said Young.
 
In Birmingham images of police using attack dogs and fire hoses to disperse protesting school children were broadcast around the world.
 
"The violence was being perpetrated by the oppressors, not the oppressed and that was an incredibly powerful message and an incredibly important tool during the movement," said Richard Cohen an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
 
In August 1963 thousands of African Americans and whites gathered for the March on Washington. It was peaceful with no arrests.
 
But just weeks after the March on Washington, tragedy struck in Birmingham when a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church during Sunday school classes. Four young girls were killed and 23 others injured. It was an awful blow for Dr. King and the civil rights movement.
 
Shirley Gavin Floyd, a friend of one of the victims, was traumatized by the hate killings.
 
"I was scared to look at a white person and I was scared to go anywhere I thought a white person was because I had really believed that could easily happen to me," said Gavin.
 
Many blacks wanted to retaliate. Among them Congressman Bobby Rush, who in the 1960's was a member of the militant group known as the Black Panthers.
 
"I thought that Dr. King was too milquetoast, too passive, and I didn't understand the power of non-violence,” said Rush. “So I didn't adhere to his philosophy and turned the other cheek."
 
Ben Jealous, president of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, said the non-violent campaign won American hearts and minds.
 
"The movement was moving towards a crescendo that we would see in 1964 and 1965 when landmark civil rights legislation was passed," said Jealous.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid