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How Violent Was Martin Luther King's Opinion/

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Violence or Nonviolence?

At one point the black population advocated non-violence, just as Martin Luther King did. However, the act of violence gained to be a more favourable approach as it became inevitable. On several accounts Malcolm X would openly say that nonviolence wasn’t possible. Martin Luther King’s message of nonviolence could have been a better option, only if it was practiced, however, revolution cannot occur without bloodshed.

In Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody recalls the hardship, determination, and the search for justice for herself and many other blacks in the mid 1900’s. Moody grew up not completely unaware of her surroundings. It wasn’t until she began working that she really understood how different her living situation and status in life differed from white folks in her area. The hardships in her life became more noticeable as her mother struggled to feed the increasing number of mouths in her family with no proper father. As she grew up, she took on more responsibilities. She got several different jobs over the years and helped support her family when her mother and stepfather could not. Along with her age, more rumours and racial raucous eventually became a part of what pushed her to become a strong advocate and voice in her community during the Civil Movement. She faced many threats simply due to the color of her skin and she and her family knew that because of her continued actions would heighten the risk. Similar to MLK’s belief, that the people who are activists in the movement are their because they see that the freedom of his country is worth the risk of his life. By becoming an active member of the NAACP she put herself in risk. She subjugated herself to violence. Even though she was terrified as most of her peers and community members were, she still did not falter and remained peaceful. Never once did she turn towards violence. Throughout the civil movement she was more focussed on trying to help her community and hope that they would all register to vote; a very important factor with equality among all races. Similarly, Martin Luther King expressed in his “I Have A Dream” speech, that nonviolence was the way towards racial equality. “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence,”

“Only the refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chain of violence in the world and lead us toward a community where men can live together without hear.” But with nonviolence, in another perspective there was always going to be violence .For true equality to happen, Malcolm X believed that if there are violent white protestors it is completely under the right of any human to defend themselves. If there is an outbreak of fighting, then the two parties should have the same things to fight with. He makes the point that non violence cannot happen. That in his time nonviolence was behind them because “you’ve never seen a nonviolent cracker. It’s hard for racist to be nonviolent and hard for anyone intelligent to be nonviolent.” Malcolm X saw that violence was inevitable and it was the only way to achieve the goals of a revolution and of equality. According to him a revolution was about obtaining land to create a new society of equality, but one could not gain the land without bloodshed. With most revolutions, the extensive list always ended in bloodshed. With a nonviolent approach, such as MLK’s, it would be much more peaceful but it would take more time. But Malcolm X’ approach would give a message of what the Black population wants, but would push them back even farther. In order for the black population to gain any respect, they must disprove what the whites think they believe about them. They must show that they are just as civilized as they are, and that they are capable as any race is, because everyone is human. With some propaganda and the general racist point of view, some believe that it is abominable that people of darker skin would interact with their white children in public or private; may it be school or a play date at home. Some would over exaggerate the conditions under which blacks and whites would be doing the same activities and treated just the same. By showing a violent side, they would have held themselves back. It’s a natural instinct to believe that anyone who acts barbaric is barbaric. So, anyone who acts violent is not going to gain any respect. From Martin’s cell in Birmingham, he makes the point that his people [blacks] have waited a few hundred years to act. MLK’s tactic was to push the public into a reaction, and that’s exactly what he got. The sit ins, rallies and marches allowed a major step forward in the civil movement. Since it was a catalyst for the subjugated population to demand more equality.

From a socio-economic graph, in the span of 45 years the numbers of blacks graduating high school raised by about 74%. That is a milestone compared to the 12.3% in 1940. Since several organizations really pushed for young students to get towards higher education.

Moody nor Dennis should have taken a militant approach nor needed to, in order to get their messages across. MLK had more of the proper approach to not focus on the numbers of bloodshed but instead of the goals of pushing towards racial equality. Even though there were small feats of creating the point of how harmless it was for integrated buses, bars, schools and even bathrooms, there would be less unnecessary deaths. If most of the population believed that there needed to be violence to get the message of equality across, then there would be more to be bitter about and more discrepancies would come about. Activists Moody, MLK, Dennis, etc did what they could during the movement and the did not need to do much more, since they did as much as their safety and mental and health state would allow.

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How Violent Was Martin Luther King’s Opinion/. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from
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