How did the techniques of Civil Rights advocates reflect change in the African American Civil Rights Movement?How did the techniques of Civil Rights advocates reflect change in the African American...

How did the techniques of Civil Rights advocates reflect change in the African American Civil Rights Movement?

How did the techniques of Civil Rights advocates reflect change in the African American Civil Rights Movement?

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Martin Luther King's high-profile emergence in 1963, through the power of his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," precipitated a change within the Civil Rights Movement that shifted its techniques from paths of pursuing legal redress, as in Brown vs Board of Education, and individual protests, like Rosa Park's choice of a bus seat and local sit-ins such as the sit-in at Woolworth's, to large scale organized events, like the March on Washington spearheaded by King, who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech before Lincoln's Memorial.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The biggest change was from nonviolence to violence. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached about civil disobedience and cooperation between races. He opposed violence even as a response to violence. Later movements such as the Black Panthers took quite a different approach, and their advocacy of violence alienated many of both races who had previously been supporters.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think it represents a shift by African-Americans in that time period from passive resistance to segregation to active and open resistance. The use of civil disobedience, protest marches, and boycotts were impossible to ignore. Their effect on the southern economy, their fearless and persistent taking of the moral high ground would win them the day eventually. Of course, the advent of technology made that possible, as television audiences were able to broadcast the events of the movement, and southern white reaction to them, instantly into living rooms nationwide each night, and this helped to sway public and political opinion behind their efforts.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

One way to answer this question is to focus on the change in tactics from the legal tactics of the early 1950s to the direct action and protests of later times.  This change reflected African Americans' growing feeling of empowerment and their loss of patience with injustice.

After WWII, the NAACP had launched a legal strategy to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson in the case of public schools.  This strategy ended with the Brown decision in 1954.  This decision, among other things, gave African Americans the sense that the time was right for them to demand equality.  As they came to feel this more and more (and as whites in the South continued to resist the idea of integration) the Civil Rights Movement became a protest movement using strategies like those of the Montgomery Bus Boycott or the sit-ins that started in North Carolina.

In this way, the change to a protest movement reflected growing assertiveness in the black community.

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