Could you give me strategies, statements and philosophies on the Civil Rights Movement?

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The Civil Rights movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King went forward with a strategy of non-violent protest, economic boycott, and mass gathering in large numbers singing songs, praying, and using the legal right of peacful assembly and protest. This strategy caused economic problems to major transportation companies and lunch counters across the South because it was organized, consistent, and ongoing.

Marches, sit-ins, freedom rides and boycotts started in this manner. These actions were reliant on the local black community wearing down the white community and especially its business sector to the point where they pressured the white authorities for change. (http://www.historyorb.com/america/civilrights.shtml)

The Civil Rights Movement lead by the Black Power organizations such as the Black Panthers and Malcom X used racial hatred, violence and extreme self-reliance. This group demanded full equality NOW. Riots and violence are associated with the Black Power organizations. Their strategy caused fear and chaos in the inner cities. One positive thing that the Black Panthers did was educate their children in their own schools.

Black power and non-violent strategy had little in common. Black power proponents often used revolutionary and violent rhetoric to awaken the masses. Retaliation was promoted if necessary to ensure hostile whites found a new level of respect for blacks.(http://www.historyorb.com/america/civilrights.shtml)

"There are those who say to you - we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late." Speech at Democrat National Convention, 14th July 1948. Hubert Humphrey

"I am - Somebody. I may be poor, but I am - Somebody! I may be on welfare, but I am - Somebody! I may be uneducated, but I am - Somebody! I must be, I’m God’s child. I must be respected and protected. I am black and I am beautiful! I am - Somebody! Soul Power!" Address to Operation Breadbasket rally, 1966. (Jesse Jackson)

"There are no ‘white’ or ‘coloured’ signs on the foxholes or graveyards of battle." Message to Congress 19th June 1963. John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"We are confronted primarily with a moral issue… whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated." Referring to race riots in Alabama in a radio broadcast 11th June 1963. John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having their legs off, and then being condemned for being a cripple." Where Do We Go From Here 1967. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The philosophies of the Civil Rights movements of the 1950-1960s in America were simply to acquire equal status and protection under the law or the same treatment under the law that white persons living in America had. The activists wanted elimination of Jim Crow Laws in the south, freedom of education, freedom from discrimination in the workplace and in the courts.

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