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Achieving Civil Rights Using Non-Violence

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“As a young woman, I was very much interested in the Civil Rights movement, but my mother never allowed me to speak my mind about such a sensitive topic. She always thought I was just a little girl who didn’t know what she was talking about.” But a young, intelligent Tamille Wells understood the very aspect of the Civil Rights Movement and the motives behind it. As Tammy graduated from American High School, her attention veered towards the Civil Rights Movement and she felt it was “her calling,” as she called it. Her community was a predominantly black community in an inner city in South Florida. Many people in her community did not seem as interested or affected by the historical movement. But everyone knew to follow the rules of not conversing nor interacting with whites. Tammy Wells, at the time a 19 year old high school graduate, was working as a waitress in a restaurant catering to African Americans only, had been moved by the words of powerful speaker Martin Luther King and his “messages of motivation.” She had never paid attention to the level of oppression that her fellow people had been enduring until she became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Tammy describes one hot July day, there was a rally held in Downtown Miami along with many other cities. The really lasted all day but messages were being spread. “I felt a sense of glory because it was the first time I felt a true connection with every other person in the country who was trying to make a difference in this country.

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love,” A message from Martin Luther King, JR. that showed his passion to promote unity and non-violence during the Civil Rights Movement. During the times of the Civil Rights Movement, many African Americans were angry and had hatred towards white people because of the oppression they endured for years. As a result many African Americans resorted to violence and hostility towards whites. Malcolm X was a very powerful leader in the African American and Muslim community who many claimed him to be a leader who did not want to live in harmony with the white people but would rather be violent with them. Malcolm X initially succeeded in the Civil Rights movement by promoting violence and retaliation towards whites but it later backfired towards him because of his racy comments and his ill-tempered attitude. Martin Luther King, JR. was a leader who rather praised unity and love amongst everyone to live peacefully. He had not expressed any anger but patience to gain civil rights.

Malcolm X was known as a positive leader who led his own mosques in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. He was reported to be the second most sought after speaker in the United States in 1963. After his separation with the Nation of Islam, he formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc. But why didn’t Malcolm X succeed in achieving Civil Rights for African Americans across the nation? One of the major issues was the fact that he did not focus on unity amongst all Americans but instead it seemed as if he focused on the non-violent tactics to retaliate against whites.

In this essay I plan to argue that Martin Luther King, JR. succeeded in achieving civil rights because he promoted positive messages of love and non-violence, he acquired thousands of people, both white and black, to work together to promote unity, and he accomplished significant change, such as gaining voting rights for blacks and desegregation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, a pastor, a husband, a father, was a man who person of strength and courage who had a vision to one day see everyone not judge others by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Martin was ordained as Baptist Minister at the age of 18. Dr. King was a man who passionate for Civil Rights. “I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.” He was a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and ultimately became a symbol of protest in the struggle for racial justice.

Martin Luther King gave a famous speech in Washington, D.C. in 1963 known as the “I Have a Dream Speech.” And in this speech Martin Luther King spoke of dreams that he had portraying unity amongst all people. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” ( He participated in dozens of marches to send a powerful message across the country that would enrich the idea of unity amongst all. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” was a message that clearly showed that no one would win a losing fight. He opened the eyes of many politicians to allow blacks the right to vote in this country as normal American Citizens.

Dr. King was a leader who did not want to use violence to get his message across. Even though white police officers and citizens constantly abused and assaulted blacks because of their skin color, Dr. King maintained his position in using love and non-violence rather than escalading a war that no one would win. For instance, when Dr. King says, “The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” ( He emphasizes the point that we should not look at the past but we must look towards the future and forgive one another. Another point is that he is saying we should not look at another person because of how they look but judge their qualities that they possess.

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” ( King continues to promote love and non-violence to gain equality amongst all men, women and children. King explains that we must relieve ourselves from the anger and the hunger for retaliation and show love to one another to put an end to the abuse and mistreatment of African Americans. King did not want violence to be the band-aid for the wound this country sustained for years. “A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard,” ( once said Martin Luther King.

In 1955,



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