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

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora