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Civil Rights

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Sierra Flowers



Freedom, equality, justice, and civil rights were the goals for all African-Americans during the 1960’s. Despite these truths, the goals, strategies, and support to gain their rights transformed between the early and mid to late 60’s. What once started as peaceful, non-violent protests, evolved to a more radical approach to achieving their freedoms. The will to not retaliate with violence would be the hardest action for blacks to refrain from. Only those mentally strong enough would be able to resist counter attacks against the brutal police tactics to stop blacks from exercising their rights to advocate for complete freedom of Jim Crow laws.

Nonviolence was the key “action” to resist against police brutality. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was a group of college students from North Caroline A&T University who decided to “take action” against the unfair rules of Jim Crow. These college students decided to sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina. They had been denied service because they were sitting at a white’s only booth and would not move or talk until they were served. Through this tactic, they hoped to gain “a social order of justice permeated by love (Doc. A).” Nonviolence was the key to their success because in doing this, they hoped that by meeting brutality by police and white bystanders with pacifism, would show moral superiority and this would help them gain support from blacks and whites. Even with their inactive reaction to the whites, these students were thrown into jail, but as soon as one group was arrested and taken away, the next wave of students came to exercise their right until the last groups of students were taken away. This sit-in caused a surge of others to come by in towns by college students.

During the same time of the SNCC, an advocator of nonviolence was Martin Luther King Jr. His main goal was similar to all black people: complete freedom against any racist discrimination. Project “C” was one of his many plans to stop this discrimination. The “C” stood for confrontation of segregation through nonviolence. Project “C” was held in Birmingham, Alabama 1963. Project “C” was played out through rallies, boycotts, and appeals to justice, Dr. King and his followers were met with confrontation by “Bull” O’Connor. He used fire hoses and police dogs to stop these peaceful protest (Doc. C).As a result of this, Dr. King was thrown into jail and as a response to clergy men who urged King to stop his protests he stated “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects on directly, affects all in directly…Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered and outsider anywhere with its bounds (Doc B). In his letter, King explains his reasoning for the continuation of his actions. He felt that all will not be well until discrimination of any kind was eliminated. He described his vision of this in his I Have a Dream speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. This same man who showed great courage of non retaliation and a strong advocator of peace was assassinated five years later. His assassination along with the rise of black



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