Many civil rights movements

Many leaders of civil rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s changed American history by confronting prejudice, making the country a better place for all members of society (Sitkoff, 2009). Not only did the leaders make substantial contributions to the black community, but they also expanded their efforts to other minority populations. Through their advocacy and unwavering efforts to promote equality, they genuinely altered the course of history. Civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King are popular names, while others such as Bayard Rustin are unheralded heroes. Their names may not appear frequently in history books, but their contributions to the fight for liberty must be remembered and recognized. This context intends to focus on four true civil leaders, which include Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael through comparing their writings and speeches that entail the use of Black Nationalism and the use of non-violent disobedience.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Luther was born in Georgia and raised in Atlanta and was a son of a revered Baptist minister who lived in a wealthy but segregated neighborhood. His father taught him the values of hard work as well as the importance of having faith in God (King, 2012). On the issue of Black Nationalism and non-violence, Martin Luther maintained that it was dangerous to organize a movement on the notion of self-defence. The line that separates aggressive violence and armed force are fragile, and the moment a program of violence is initiated even for defending oneself, the atmosphere will be literary filled with violence and the words were falling into people ears may be interpreted as an invitation for aggression. In a warfare that is violent, one must also accept the fact that there will always be casualties and anyone in charge of rebellion must make an assessment that is honest concerning a minority population confronting a majority population that is well armed with every right and delightful to kill many black men, women, and children. Martin Luther attributed to the fact that fewer people died between 1955 and 1965 in non-violent demonstrations across the southern part of the country in comparison to many individuals that were killed in one night of protests in Watts (Sitkoff, 2009).
Moreover, he pointed out that the weakness of violence in a bid to acquire what one needs is that chances of destroying that particular thing are eminent. Instead of violent move reducing the evil, it multiplies the vice through numerous platforms. For instance, by initiating violence, one can kill a liar but cannot kill the vice, which is a lie. Through violence, one can murder the hater, but chances of killing the hate are slim. Violence only increases hate instead. Violence against violence only increases violence, and apparently, darkness cannot drive darkness. The only non-violent strategy is critical to ensure that violence against the black people and equality is achieved. Looking at Luther's piece Letter from Birmingham jail, he opts for a rather formal and reserved approach instead of directly addressing the situation. He says "my dear fellow clergyman." He proves to be exceptionally well educated with an excellent grasp of the language of English. He had faith that even though those who were less educated could not comprehend the complicated words that he used, his ideas concerning the non-violent approach were universally understandable and therefore their interpretation will not prove a challenge to the people (King, 2012).
Malcolm X.
He asserted that African American needed to embrace a self-defence approach through consulting the first law of nature, which is self-preservation (Tyner, 2013). Constitution gives every American citizen the right to possess arms and as black people belongs to the American Constitution; they should not give up that particular right that is granted by the constitution. History of violence towards the black people clearly demonstrates that people must be prepared to defend themselves or else they will continue facing challenges and mistreatments from the violent racist mob that has no mercy. Areas that the government is not willing to protect people, the people are within their rights to defend themselves by whatever necessary means including violent reaction. An individual having rifle can only be stopped by having the same type of weapon as well. It is because strategies based on good approaches are only successful when dealing with people who are moral. It is the responsibility of every-African American to throughout the nation to protect themselves and people against the corrupt system (Sitkoff, 2009).
In his speech "The Ballot or the Bullet," Malcolm is not withdrawn from reaching out everyone through the creation of a personal bond between himself and everyone who might care to listen to him. He opens up his speech by saying "Mr. Moderator, brothers, and sisters, friends and enemies" which proves that it is not only suitable but also far-reaching. Malcolm is not choosy in his language and goes in a different direction through championing for a violent reaction from African-Americans (Tyner, 2013). He aims to be closer to the poor population who are less educated and from which he originated. He uses simple vocabularies and transmittable ideas targeting ordinary people in the society. Malcolm had traveled widely and was conversant with the need for global resistance in bringing together the domestic struggles of African Americans in America and the Third World countries. He was enthusiastic to meet the civic leaders globally and convert the fight into a fight for human rights elevating it from domestic to international. Despite being controversial in his ideologies, the central focus for Malcolm X was people to engage in the struggle to attain their freedom and equality in the United States.
Bayard Rustin
Rustin has been described as an invisible man in the manner in which he was a chief advisor to most civil rights activists in America. He was central to organizing numerous events to champion for minority rights, and he was the first one to introduce principals of Gandhi of non-violent political actions to the movement. He was born in 1912 in Philadelphia, and it is believed that it is the influence of her mother who was an early member of NAACP that shaped his belief towards non-violent social transformation (Hall, 2013). He moved to New York in 1937 where he immersed himself in the lifestyle of the rich African American individuals and ended up in the gay community. At one point, he joined Youth Communist League in College and was touch by communist ideologies as well as the activism on behalf of all black Americans.
Bayard Rustin had prophesied as early as 1966 that there was certainly no option for the institutionalization of the civil rights movements. He was a harsh critic of the Black Nationalism and its advocates who according to him were calling for the tie with the white community (Sitkoff, 2009). He was afraid that the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr would lead to a deepening sense of isolation towards the side of the African American activists. He was worried by the fact that people would understand the Black Power caution of both Carmichael and Hamilton in those African American communities had first to do away with the issue of thirst for power as a permanent strategy instead of a temporary undertaking to increase their influence in politics (Hall, 2013). He was certain that it is the idea of Black power that had led to the assassination of Martin Luther and the same fate was awaiting other black activists. In fact, some sources claim that it was Bayard Rustin who taught Martin Luther King the principles of Gandhi of nonviolent passive resistance. Dr. King had not yet fully embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance, and there are claims that before Bayard Rustin approached him, he had a gun registered in his name. Similarly, despite the reason that Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin disagreed on their ideologies t hey were still great friends. Bayard Rustin was an integrationist while Malcolm X was a nationalist. In a debate with Rustin, Malcolm called for having out a separate territory in America that would have a distinct political entity in America. However, Rustin challenged this idea by questioning the possibility of having a separate political entity in America without the political support of the United States. Moreover, Malcolm X belonged to Nation of Islam and the group did not involve itself in politics.
Stokely Carmichael
Carmichael was born in 1941 in Trinidad and was brought up by her grandmother Cecilia Harris. Afterward, Stokely's mother left Trinidad to live in her parents' home in Bronx New York when her children were still young. Carmichael later joined Bronx High School of Science where Gene Davis who was a fellow communist classmate introduced him to politics (Joseph, 2009).
Even after observing the killings and the beatings of the black demonstrators, Carmichael unrelentingly progressed in the path of Martin Luther and defended nonviolent strategy as the best in pressing forward the civil rights. He was against those opposed to passive resistance and advised them to evaluate the teachings of King carefully. Carmichael pointed out that nonviolence is a philosophy of life and an ethical principle. It is also a strategic approach to the struggle of the oppressed minority in the society. However, at some point, Carmichael began to question the effectiveness of nonviolent strategy on conflict. He came to realize that sometimes violence was necessary at least in a scenario of defending oneself. He had great admiration for King, but after being elected to head the Student Nonviolent Committee, he began to talk about Black Power instead of attributing for nonviolent civil disobedience (Joseph, 2009).
After his release from the jail, he was a changed man and was fully out to champion for black power. He decided to address people on Black Power on the campus of the University of California. The speech was an effort to characterize black power as the mental effort for the liberation of the black society in America. Instead of requesting support from his fellow students, he condemned the white Americans and separated himself from the antiwar movement led by the student as well as the non-violent civil rights movements. In the speech, he identified some concerns especially with the Black Power, the war in Vietnam and the corruption that was slowly consuming American institutions (Sitkoff, 2009).
The Best Path for these Political Actors
Clearly, the best way for African American political actors between 1950 and 1960 would be nonviolent resistance as Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther advocated. It is because applying a robust strategy on a government that is already established and has all the weapons and machinery only resulted in losing of lives. The principles of Gandhi of nonviolent resistance are critical in dealing with such as a situation of struggle as minorities in a country such as the United States. Activists do not get tired of nonviolent strategy because there are no casualties because the demonstrations are peaceful and it is impossible for a government who are championing their cause on peaceful grounds.
Legacy of Civil Rights Movements
Civil right movements that were present in America decades back did a recommendable job of making the country hospitable for all people especially the minority communities that were facing racism challenges (Ansell, 2016). It is through the efforts of such movements that the black communities were able to vote and at least have representatives in various government positions. However, the real legacy of civil right movements is slowly deteriorating in the contemporary society especially the way cases of racism have been prevalent lately. According to a recent poll that was conducted by ABC News, 63% of Americans feel that the relationship between various races in the country is declining (Sitkoff, 2009).
The figure is propagated by the rising trend in which police have been shooting and killing black suspects accused of minor offenses. The officers are then left without charges by the federal government. After such events, there has also been the massacre of police officers with the first one taking place in Dallas and the other one Baton Rouge. Such cases demonstrate extreme cases of racism in the United States. Furthermore, one can as well cite the political climate of the country regarding the issue of racism and attack of minority groups with the current president leading in anti- Muslim movement in America. It is, therefore, an indication that race relations are still a thorn in the flesh in the United States even after civil rights movements fought so hard to make things better for the country (Ansell, 2016).
Despite the earlier civil rights activists having different views and ideologies concerning the struggle for freedom, all of them had the same objective of making the United States a better place for minorities and oppressed in the society. Malcolm X asserted for violent resistance and Black Nationalism as a way to deal with the issue of racism and oppression (Sitkoff, 2009). On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr maintained that principles of Gandhi were the way to go if at all African Americans needed to win the struggle. The likes of Bayard Rustin and Stokely Carmichael also had different views regarding the same issue. Nevertheless, what is important is that they both saw the sufferings that they fellow black people were facing, and they stood up to challenge the perpetrators of such vices. It is, therefore, important for contemporary American society both minority and the majority to at least recognize the efforts and sacrifices of these leaders especially those who advocated for nonviolent resistance by demonstrating love and unity led by the leaders to make the country a better place for all.

Ansell, A. E. (2016). New right, new racism: Race and Reaction in the United States and Britain. Springer.
Hall, R. L. (Ed.). (2013). Black separatism and social reality: Rhetoric and reason. Elsevier.
Joseph, P. E. (2009). The Black Power Movement: A state of the field. The Journal of American History, 96(3), 751-776.
King Jr, M. L. (2012). Letter from Birmingham jail. Liberating Faith: Religious voices for justice, peace, and ecological wisdom, 177-187.
Sitkoff, H. (2009). A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue: The Depression Decade. Oxford University Press, USA.
Tyner, J. (2013). The geography of Malcolm X: Black radicalism and the remaking of American space. Routledge.

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