Civil Rights Movement

Was the non-violent civil rights movement of the 60's successful?

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May 14, 2009 5:59PM

Non-violent protest led to very rapid change in the USA

including voting, educational, economic and social rights for

blacks. The main reason for the success was the principal of

non-violence. Because of non-violent protest, whites who benefited

from Segregation but who were not overt racists saw the truth that

their non-action was wrong. Here are excerpts from MLK's sermon,

Love thy Nieghbor: Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus

says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a

redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually

transforms individuals. That's why Jesus says, "Love your enemies."

Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to

transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will

discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption.

You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though

they're mistreating you. Here's the person who is a neighbor, and

this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just

keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don't do

anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can't

stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning.

They react with bitterness because they're mad because you love

them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes

they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just

keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break

down under the load. That's love, you see. It is redemptive, and

this is why Jesus says love. There's something about love that

builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears

down and is destructive. So love your enemies. So this morning, as

I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in

Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I

love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I'm foolish enough

to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of

the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. Love Your

Enemies, Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery,

Alabama, on 17 November 1957. Martin Luther King, Jr. Estate

Collection (in private hands)


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