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Blog Post 9 (20/10)

In “MLK: Charismatic Leadership in a Mass Struggle”, the idea of “King Myth” stands out. King’s role was underestimated however his power was exaggerated and overestimated and the civil rights did not solely depend on him, and without him, we would not have the civil rights movement. He is always seen as the idolized leader; a peaceful person leading a peaceful movement, however, fighting for racial justice is much more complex and controversial than that. Although his important role in the civil rights movement and work in ending the segregation of the people in the nation should not be denied, people should also look at his flaws as a person. Carson mentions that “because the myth emphasizes the individual at the expense of the black movement, it not only exaggerates King’s historical importance but also distorts his actual, considerable contribution to the movement” which I totally agree with. I think it was really interesting to see how this article explains how the more credit King is given, the less there is for the rebellion itself.

Zinn discusses the steps the government has taken during the civil rights movement in his chapter “Or does it explode?”. He explains how history has shifted in order to show how the United States government has played a great role in ending the struggle more than it actually did. He mentions that the federal government did not actually intervene to support the movement when the police and government involvement was mainly to stop the peaceful resistance. The government would only make small changes rather than fundamental ones to grab the attention and give people some sense of satisfaction with the actions they are taking. However, people were not satisfied and I feel that people are still experiencing nowadays a feeling that they are unprotected especially when it comes to issues of civil rights and the fight for equality.

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3 Comments

  1. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    Your point about police involvement in nonviolent protests during the Civil Rights movement reminded me of similar occurrences in today’s society. During the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, many peaceful protesters were teargassed, assaulted with rubber bullets, arrested, and more despite causing no violence and merely practicing their constitutional right to assemble and protest. Police and institutions of power felt threatened by the movements and the causes these protests stood for, and therefore felt pressured into shutting them down, despite the lawfulness of the gatherings. It is definitely interesting to see parallels between today and the Civil Rights movement, as I feel as though we potentially could be entering into another era focused on civil and human rights.

  2. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    As you pointed out, I think it’s really important to note the government’s hesitance in responding to urgent demands for justice. Each Civil Rights Act passed by the government came in response to passionate civil disobedience and was subsequently poorly enforced. Surely, this reveals that the government has oftentimes been more interested in appearing compliant with demands for justice than actively working toward reform, and it leaves me wondering whether government action is more heavily motivated by genuine desires for change or by a desire to calm the chaos of civil movements.

  3. Samuel Hussey Samuel Hussey

    I also found it interesting how the Government’s inability to make fundamental changes has allowed the repercussions of racism to linger on for decades. If the Government decided to tackle the problem once and for all instead of making small changes to try and appease the masses, the conflict would be solved in the long run, not just the short run.

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