Nonviolent Resistance In The Civil Rights Movement

Decent Essays
When faced with injustices on an almost insurmountable scale, how do we fight back? It is this psychological, sociological, and philosophical question that has endured and resurged throughout the modern history of mankind: do we pursue nonviolent or violent resistance? Particularly prevalent within the Civil Rights Movement, this debate is unique in that it forces us to look deep within ourselves and outward simultaneously as the realities of each option are both personal and macroscopic. How do I fight back? And, what effect does this have on society at large? In this paper, I’ll endeavor to put forth arguments for and against each ideology through the viewpoints of the two most distinctive, eloquent men of the African-American struggle for equality.
Both nonviolent resistance and violent resistance’s philosophical and societal implications have been written about and meditated on by
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But, perhaps this is most completely defined as a revolution, “by any means necessary”. This quote’s nuance from a famous speech Malcolm X gave in 1965 is illustrative of the fact that while he did assert that any African-American citizen had the constitutional right to self defense, he was not King’s polar opposite. Just like nonviolent resistance and self defense are not diametrically opposed, but instead are representative of the varying degrees of possible engagement with hostility. In fact, the roles that each man played in the movement say a great deal about the media and needs of the movement at the time through the way they utilized these two men to construct an understandable narrative of the cause: where Martin Luther King Jr. was regimented in his goals and disarming, Malcolm X was global and
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