Bayard Rustin and Non-Violence in the Civil Rights Movement
A look at the first person to teach the civil rights groups in the South the non-violent methods of protest that were instituted in the fight for freedom during 1957-1964.
This paper tells of Bayard Rustin and his principles of non-violence taught within the Civil Rights Movement. It gives information on Rustin’s life, the basic ideas and precedents of his philosophies, and how his ideas were applied to the Civil Rights Movement.
The Civil Rights Movement can best be described as a series of massive, non-violent, and highly publicized protests that took place throughout the Southeastern United States during the late 1950’s on through the 1960’s. The main objective of the Movement was to integrate the rigidly segregated South and obtain legislation that would protect violations of the Constitutional rights of African-Americans. The mostly peaceful demonstrations became so large that the nation could no longer turn its head to the problem that it faced as a whole with racism and discrimination. Bayard Rustin first taught the civil rights groups in the South the non-violent methods of protest that were instituted in the fight for freedom during 1957-1964. Such organizations as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced Snick) would not have been successful without the guidance, instruction, and precedent that Rustin gave to the Movement. The main pieces of legislation that Rustin helped secure during this particular time in American history were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the twenty-fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.