Non-Violence During the Civil Rights Movement

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil disobedience, Nonviolence Pages: 4 (1128 words) Published: October 30, 2014
Non-Violence During the Civil Rights Movement
Mahatma Gandhi was a wise man and taught multiple lessons to his people about the workings of nonviolence. He called it Satyagraha which translates to “Soul-force” or “Love-force”. Gandhi is renowned not only as the “Father of India” but also as the originator of the modern nonviolence or passive movement (444). During his lifetime (1869-1948) he performed countless acts of nonviolence to help end the struggle for Indian independence from Britain which happened from 1915 to 1947. Gandhi’s writings inspired American civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.; South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; Czechoslovakia’s Václav Havel, leader of that country’s “Velvet Revolution”; and countless workers for peace and justice around the world (444). His teachings on nonviolence were greatly used in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The African-American Civil Rights Movement was a time of great struggle and suffering for most Americans. The Civil Rights Movement’s main goal in the United States was to end the racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and to achieve legal recognition and federal protection of the citizenship rights shown in the Constitutional Amendments adopted after the Civil War. The movement spanned from 1954 to 1968 and consisted of major campaigns of civil resistance. Acts of nonviolent protests and civil disobedience produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Some people during the movement thought that being violent and using brute force would achieve more than what nonviolent actions would achieve. Gandhi says in his writings that brute force is a behavior for beasts and that killing people requires no intelligence. In “The Doctrine of the Sword II” he says: “Sword-force is brute force. Killing people requires no intelligence. We may, indeed, by misdirecting our intelligence employ it in the service of brute force but, though aided...

Citations: “Civil Rights Movement.” Events. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/events/4279/civil_rights_movement/532945
Dilks, Stephen, Regina Hansen, and Matthew Parfitt. Cultural conversations: the presence of the past. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. Print.
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