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To What Extent Can Violence be seen as a Catalyst to the Advancement of African American Civil Rights in the period 1865- 1965

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In a similar fashion, CORE’s non-violent ‘Freedom Ride’ of May 1961 served to challenge racial segregation in the nations interstate bus system, which the Supreme Court had declared an unconstitutional violation of human rights. By the time they had reached Alabama on the 14th of May, the trip had drawn little national publicity and had achieved little, but on this day the violence directed towards the freedom riders brought the freedom rides to national attention. In Anniston, Alabama, one bus was stopped and set ablaze. As the Freedom Riders ran from the smoke and flames, a mob tried to murder them, while other southerners tried to save them. The other bus reached Birmingham, and the Freedom Riders were dragged off and beaten nearly to death . The press had a field day. Howard K. Smith, a veteran reporter, publicized a gripping eyewitness account of the violence, Smith told the nation “One passenger was knocked down at my feet by twelve hoodlums, and his face was beaten and kicked until it was a bloody pulp” . Arsenault (2006) believes that nothing had prepared Americans for the image of the burning bus outside of Anniston or of the broken bodies in Birmingham, and that the subsequent news reports opened the floodgates of public reaction. Indeed leader of the movement, James farmer later explained that the freedom rides were created with the specific intention of creating a crisis, “ We were counting on the bigots in the South to do our work for us… we figured the government would have to respond if we created a situation that was headline news all over the world” . After the long summer of 1961 it was evident that segregation on the nations interstate buses could not survive and on September that year buses were officially ... ... middle of paper ... ...me That Changed America, Random House., p191 - 196 19. Beito, David; Beito, Linda (2009). Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power, University of Illinois Press. P130 20. Kirk, J (2007), Beyond Little Rock: The origins and legacies of the Central High Crisis, p1 21. Dudziak, M (2000), Cold War Civil Rights p.32 22. Carson,C (1995). In Struggle : SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s. United States of America, Boston: Harvard University Press. page 9 23. j. garrow,D (2004). Bearing the cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. New york: HarperCollins . 134. 24. Arsenault, R (2006). Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. New york: Oxford University Press. 165. 25. L. Krenn,M (1999). Black Diplomacy: African Americans and the State Department, 1945-1969. New york: Sharpe.
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