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To Fight or Not To Fight: Effects of Nonviolence and Violence on Civil Rights - page 5 / 10





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year from 1961 to 1962. . . . The percentage of employed blacks who were professional

and technical workers rose less than five percent in the five years following the Civil

Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years preceding it” (Sowell 49). This lack in any

discernible improvement in the lives of blacks failed to satisfy their needs for actual

equality, and so the fight continued. Disillusioned with the Civil Rights Act, and angered

by riots throughout the North, South and Midwest, civil rights proponents began to

advocate for the enfranchisement of black Americans. Blacks, especially in the South,

were still subject to Jim Crow voter tests and abject voter discrimination. Registering to

vote was punishable by jailing and beating. Protesters in Selma, Alabama endured this

and more as they set out on a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest voter

discrimination. Unable to cope with the protesters, Governor Wallace appealed to

President Johnson to deal with the marchers. Johnson allowed the marchers to reach

Montgomery, which was a victory for the movement in gaining more federal support, but

was even more important in that the incident had revealed to Congress members the

extent to which blacks were being mistreated and disenfranchised. They quickly passed

the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which barred voter examinations and placed federal

voting registrars in counties where it was determined blacks were being denied the right

to vote. This served to raise the number of black voters exponentially (Cloward 248-51).

Achieving more legal gains in the years of extreme white resistance than peaceful protest

could achieve alone, white resistance forced change to occur at the federal level, as it

played on the reason for using nonviolence in the first place; to dramatize the opposition

and gain support. Yet even these developments couldn't help but be offset by violent

black groups.

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