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Why Did African Americans Increasingly Turn To Violent Methods Of Protest During The 1950s To 1960s?

698 words - 3 pages

Violent methods of protest were increasingly embraced by African Americans in the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s to 1960s because of frustration caused by the time consuming and ineffectiveness of peaceful non-violence. After the initial hype of non-violence during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycotts, non-violence eventually lost its influence as it was not yielding the results the African-Americans had hoped for. In addition to this, non-violence was met with police brutality and violence, making it dangerous to be involved in Civil Rights Movements and discouraging the participation in non-violence. Consequently, violent methods were seized by African Americans as they attracted widespread attention and were more effective in achieving short term goals, especially as violence was advocated strongly by figure heads such as Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.Firstly, the methods of non-violence were time consuming and ineffective which frustrated the African American supporters of the CRM, causing them to resort to violence. It was a fault of Civil Disobedience that it required time, which meant that less patient and younger members of the movement were dissatisfied with its pace. The Brown Vs. Education case took 4 years, an example of a slow process that bred frustration. This was even truer in the Southern States, where non-violence was ignored until it became impossible, in which only small minor charges were passed. With the sluggish outcomes of non-violence, African Americans increasingly sought for answers elsewhere, in the form of violence.Non violence caused increased frustration to African Americans which led them to adopt more violent methods. African Americans were terrorised by white rioters, especially the KKK, which made it dangerous for them and others to become involved in the Movement, This danger was exemplified in Mississippi in 1964 when two Civil Rights workers were murdered while investigating the burning of an African American Church. As a result of the killings, eighteen white men were accused of murder but only eleven were acquitted. Incidents such as this one reinforced the view that non-violence was ineffective and the law did not protect and uphold the rights of its citizens. Furthermore, peaceful...

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