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To Fight or Not To Fight: Effects of Nonviolence and Violence on Civil Rights - page 2 / 10

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resorting to violence in return,' King states. 'They must demonstrate love for their fellow

man even while condemning segregationists' evil acts of discrimination. In that way, they

will dramatize the injustice of segregation and convince separatists of the immorality of

racist views'” (King 58). Such rhetoric set the tone for the ensuing years of the civil rights

movement. Nonviolence was the method of choice not because blacks expected to bring

about legal change with this technique, but rather was to gain the support of moderate

whites. This way, when moderates saw blacks being violently victimized by racist

segregationists, it would move these moderates to support the cause of civil rights

leaders, thus later aiding in the fight for legal equality. Yet for some, to sit passively in

the hopes of gaining support was not enough. This was especially true for black youth,

who in 1960 established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as an offshoot

of King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference to oversee the sit-in campaigns of

black students. The organization was established in response to the sit-in campaign in

Greensboro, North Carolina to desegregate lunch counters at a Woolworth's store.

College students, tired of being treated like second class citizens, decided to fill all the

tables at the store, blocking out white customers until the store management agreed to

serve the black students. Faced with profit losses, the store was forced to desegregate and

serve both blacks and whites. This use of nonviolent civil disobedience triggered sit-in

protests all across the nation (Matusow 290-292). By applying King's rhetoric of

nonviolence to people's desire to see change occur in their lives, civil rights proponents

were able to achieve their goal of making a discernible difference in their living

conditions, while at the same time using techniques that were condoned by both blacks

and whites. In this way, blacks managed to make progress while at the same time gain

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