Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom

Creating a world where men and women can live together will be done by persons who have the courage to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflict suffering upon others. It will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation and peace.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Teaching American

The year 1966 brought with it the first public challenge to the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence from within the ranks of the civil rights movement. Resolutions of self-defense and Black Power sounded forth from our friends and brothers. At the same time riots erupted in several major cities. Inevitably a like was made between the two phenomena though movement leadership continued to deny any implications of violence in the concept of Black Power.

The nation’s press heralded these incidents as an end of the Negro’s reliance on nonviolence as a means of achieving freedom. Articles appeared on “The Plot to Get Whitey,” and, “Must Negroes fight back?” and one had the impression that a serious movement was underway to lead the Negro to freedom through the use of violence.

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Posted by David Culver

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