The Role Of Violence Protests In The Civil Rights Movement Essay
The 1960s where characterized by a social and civil awakening in the sense that many people, particularly the black community who fought for social equality.
During this time, it has been said that many organizations decided up for their rights and their cause in an attempt to end many of the discriminations that they faced. In fine, the civil rights movement of this particular decade was an attempt by African Americans to try to end discrimination in America and end any type of segregation. It is said that the strongest voice during the civil rights movement is that of Martin Luther King –who advocated changes by nonviolent means.He tried to change society through challenging the laws that justified discrimination.
However there was another African American movement that arose to challenge American society and that was the Black Power movement. The agenda of the Black Power Movement was different from Martin Luther King’s movement because it focused on empowering African Americans and encouraged segregation. They were strongly influenced by Malcolm X who really provided them with a strong message in the early sixties that later influenced many of the leaders of the Black Power movement.The Black Panther was founded on the principles of its Ten-Point Program, a document that called for “Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice and Peace”, as well as exemption from military service that would utilize African Americans to “fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White racist government of America. ” It is also noteworthy to recognize the fact that the group’s political goals are often overshadowed by their confrontational and even militaristic tactics.
Many movies have been produced and shown which focus on the many events that took place during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement –most of which gave the new generations that followed a glimpse of the chaos experienced during those days. Two movies that carry the same theme are Berkeley in the 60s and Heat Wave. Based on what I have seen in these two movies as well as from previous readings regarding the Civil Rights Movement, I am of the opinion that the Black Panther Party did help the community it represented in more ways than one.I am also of the opinion that violent means and the Black Panther Party can be lumped up into one category in the sense that these two concepts are not totally related. What I mean by this is although they are often associated with violence and militarism, the Black Panther Party and the means they employed during the Civil Rights Movement actually helped in bringing awareness to the injustices happening all across the country against the black community.
What is important to stress at this point is that this particular group, albeit militant in nature, did not advocate violence and wanted to establish real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines. Quite the contrary, the Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U. S. government and fought to establish community based programs. Admittedly, The Black Power movement was seen as a negative movement because people believed that it advocated anti-white sentiments and rejected any assistance from white leaders.However, what is important to note here is the fact that the Black Power movement did acknowledge many accomplishments of white leaders but they believed that it was time for the black community to begin to fight for themselves.
The Black power can be seen as a negative part of the civil rights movement but in fact it aided African Americans in developing many community organizations and helped them gain an identity. In a way, I would also have to say that violent means did play a positive part in the Civil Rights Movement in that they shoved people in the government into real action.It has to be noted that many nonviolent protests took place before the climax of the Civil Rights Movement but none of them made any significant changes in the situation of the Black Community. Let us take for instance the incident that took place in the bus where Rosa Parks became an icon for asserting equal rights and treatment between whites and blacks. Without a doubt, one of the most famous non-violent protests was the Montgomery Buss Boycott which took place in 1955 until 1956.
This of course was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks.It has been noted that for approximately a year, supporters of Rosa Parks did not ride public transportation. But it was only in 1960 where the Supreme Court decided to integrate public transportation and facilities. In saying this, I do not mean that I advocate violence in asserting one’s right. What I am merely pointing out is this: violence makes people act faster than nonviolent protests. At least this was the case in the Civil Rights Movement.
And for me, if it takes violent means to make people accept social equality as a norm in society, then so be it. After all, Machiavelli was right in saying that the end does justify the means.