Passive Resistance Training, SNCC, Atlanta, GA, 1960, by James Karales, courtesy Duke University Library
people had to be trained to deal wit the evil of white people
Let this sink in ppl. We don’t dislike y’all for no reason. This wasn’t 500 years ago. This happened in my grandmothers AND mothers lifetime.
I hope this makes it clear to folks that non-violence as expressed during the Civil Rights Movement was not simply a moral or political choice. It was a tactical application as well.
Do y’all think SNCC, SCLC, CORE, MLK, Jr. or anyone else wanted to witness their people being beaten, that they wanted to stay their fists and guns when their CHILDREN were being murdered? If you do, I suggest you go back to history class, because MLK, Medgar Evers, Bayard Rustin, almost any person you can think of who advocated non-violence had armed guards and personnel in place for their and their people’s safety.
Non-violence as a resistance strategy was an attempt at provocation. Recognize that. Recognize that’s why these folks are training. Because they’re performing provocation through passive resistance. By not striking back they were illustrating the madness and vitriol of white supremacy. They were exposing in the most dramatic manner possible the denial of their humanity.
Understand: This was not turn the other cheek, this was looking into the eyes of the Devil and not backing down.
Actually Bayard Rustin was so committed to nonviolence he even criticized MLK for having armed guards to protect him. Bayard Rustin went to prison for opposing World War 2. He was a passionate extremist in his pacifism. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with Rustin, but he was an absolute true believer in nonviolence.