NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Why the Civil Rights Movement Became Increasingly Violent
The African-American Civil Rights Movement was a campaign against the racial segregation and black discrimination that gripped America and the world from the 1950s to the late 1960s. It was characterised by civil resistance, nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. This article discusses the effectiveness of the tactic of nonviolence in the movement. In doing so, it first defines the philosophy of nonviolence and the aim of those using this strategy in order to assess whether their goals were achieved and whether the strategy was effective. The article will then discuss why the movement became increasingly violent in the 1960s. It becomes evident that whilst some saw nonviolence as a way of life, others saw it simply as a tactic. The latter group grew disgruntled with the apparent lack of progress and success achieved by nonviolence and therefore adopted another strategy; self-defence. Others took a more radical turn and supported the revolutionary Black Power movement. This group arose to public attention at this time, with their militant image, attitude and rhetoric, and fought for separatism and self-determination.