Foes of the Revolution

579 WordsFeb 17, 20182 Pages
History records the events chronicled in Why We Can’t Wait as the Civil Rights Movement. However, if we take to heart the words of the author, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should view these events as the Civil Rights Revolution. Dr. King states, “A social movement that only changes people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution” (142). Through the method of nonviolent direct action the black citizens of the United States, specifically in Birmingham, Alabama, achieved more in the summer of 1963 than any other time in American history. To appreciate this revolution we must realize it battled against three foes; the white power structure, moderates, and the church. First, the battle against the white power structure was twofold, “economic and political” (49). These forces had been in place since Reconstruction to keep the black citizen in slavery. Economics came into play when black workers were denied jobs and promotion due to the color of their skin, not on their skill or performance (46). They came in the form of Jim Crow laws which segregated the black citizen from attending the same schools, playing in the same parks, or even drinking water from the same fountain to name a few (44–47). To understand how engrained these laws were enforced we need only to learn of a United States senator being “arrested because he walked through a door marked ‘Colored’” (48). Perhaps the greatest display of contempt toward the black
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