Why did some black activists reject the approach of Martin Luther King to Civil Rights

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                                  Civil Rights in the USA                            22.02.05

2. Why did some black activists reject the approach of Martin Luther King to Civil Rights?

Some black activists rejected the approach of Martin Luther King in his struggle to gain full citizenship rights for black Americans; this was mainly because they followed the ideas of another black leader who called himself Malcolm X.

Martin Luther King, a black Christian, gained a lot of success through his belief that the only way to achieve civil rights and equality was by non violent and peaceful forms of protest. He encouraged a variety of activities, including protest marches, boycotts, demonstrations, and refusal to abide by segregation laws. In 1955, Montgomery, a 42 year old black woman Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on the bus. What had followed an arrest and fine had soon resulted in a buss boycott. Martin Luther King had led the boycott; it turned out to be an immediate success, despite the threats and violence by white people. A federal court ordered Montgomery's buses desegregated in November 1956, and the boycott ended in triumph.

King lead several sit-ins, this kind of movement not only was a success and desegregated several facilities, but also demonstrated clearly to blacks and whites alike that young blacks were determined to reject segregation openly. But the whites violently attacked the black people. King had told his followers to take the beating and not fight back; his philosophy was that the black protest would wear the whites down by their capacity to suffer, and ‘Non-violence weakens the oppressor’s morale and exposes his defences. And at the same time it works on his conscience’. He was against violence and said it ‘destroys everybody’, and repeated that violence would not help the situation, instead it would instigate white violence. So when the 3,300 black men, women and children were peacefully demonstrating for civil rights, they were attacked by the police with tear gas, fire hoses, dogs and even electric cattle prods. The police frequently arrested protesters, but ignored the white people who attacked them. Some blacks gave up on King’s methodology since they were getting no justice. Television cameras exposed loudmouthed, uncivilized whites swearing and attacking the black people who were getting a beating but not striking back. This shocked much of the world, and created great publicity that King’s wanted. Some blacks were in strong disagreement about King’s methods, they thought that King was helping the whites by allowing them to beat Blacks; they believed the whites were winning the fight since there was slow change in black peoples’ lives.

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Although King had achieved a lot in the South, such as changes in the law regarding civil rights, there were still many problems which he was helpless against in the North. He was less familiar with the conditions in the North and had no grip on the severe problems for black people there. The black people in the northern states rejected his non-violent methods, this was because they were less interested in King’s aims for civil rights, but more concerned with their economic and social problems. There was serious violence and racial discrimination in the North, law was not ...

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