Essay Example on 1960s African American Resistance: Violent or Nonviolent?

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  536 Words
Date:  2023-09-07

When addressing the issue of African American communities resisting segregation laws in the 1960s, the most debated approach to the struggle was whether to use violent or nonviolent strategies. Each approach, as demonstrated from historical texts, had their respective advantages and disadvantages. Malcolm X supported the violent approach as he viewed the nonviolent strategy as a weak response to the injustices committed against the black community. On the other hand, Martin Luther King advocated for nonviolence as he believed the black community was better than conforming to the stereotypes developed by the white community. The desired racial equality nevertheless was never achieved as even with laws abolishing it; racism is present in society to date.

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The advantage of using violence during the activism can be argued to have been an effective response to an aggressive regime that neglected to address the issues of the oppressed black community. Additionally, the black community, which was a marginalized and excluded community, had an opportunity to utilize a wide range of tactics in disrupting their injustices. The main drawback was the destruction of property and casualties from the resistance waged by the police and other law enforcement. Additionally, the effects of the approach were minuscule in terms of enforcing equality.

The nonviolent approach, supported by Martin Luther King, utilized numerous strategies such as sit-ins, boycotts, and lobbying, among others. The approach had the main strategy of effecting change without employing violence. The approach had numerous advantages, such as lack of casualties and political acceptance. Moreover, members of the white community had the opportunity to support the protests set up by the black community. However, the main disadvantage with the approach was the high level of abuse-imposed on the protestors with some being killed.


Racial inequality is a problem at the core of American society, and both violent and nonviolent activism has been employed for decades. The approach taken by Martin Luther King was effective in enforcing change for the black community.

Part 2: Responses

Hi Jenna, I am afraid I have to disagree with your personal opinion on the use of violence to promote social equality n the 1960s. Nonviolence, which was supported by Martin Luther King, was more effective compared to the misunderstood violent approach of Malcolm X. The groups posed less of a threat and were able to attempt to lobby for change. However, as stated, their less threatening approach posed security issues as numerous members of the protests were either harassed, attacked, or arrested for civil disobedience. The approach taken by Malcolm X was truly aggressive as black people were encouraged to fight for their right to be recognized as equal American citizens. Though the approach did show the African American community's desire to be recognized, it also created a negative image of the black community.

Salutations Marissa, I fully support the notion that Martin Luther King’s nonviolent approach was effective. The black community was presented as a non-threatening community seeking equal recognition and abolition o segregation laws. The approach by Malcolm X did train the black community to protect itself; however, it was ineffective compared to the nonviolent approach. Moreover, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers were misunderstood, and their approach used against them.

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Essay Example on 1960s African American Resistance: Violent or Nonviolent?. (2023, Sep 07). Retrieved from

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