Wow. Puts all my knee-jerk reactions to ignorant assholes on the Internet in perspective.
School for black civil rights activists; young girl being trained to not react to smoke blown in her face
One of the important things about non-violent civil rights work that people did was months of work-shops where people discussed their feelings on what they were doing, made collective decisions about how their efforts would be organized and toward what goals, and then did practices like this where people practiced walking out non-violent resistance. According to Rev. James Lawson (he was interviewed for the Freedom Riders documentary), who was brought to teach because of his experience in India studying the work of Ghandi, prior to the the efforts to desegregate the downtown area of Nashville—particularly lunch counters—people did workshops for six months.
People talk admiringly about military campaigns, but instances like that had all the precision, commitment, and excellence of a military effort only toward the end of representing everyone rather than upholding strict hierarchy *and* using non-violent tools of warfare.
I don’t hold that non-violence should be considered the only option for oppressed people. But I do believe that it’s extraordinary work that deserves wider recognition. I feel like, as with Rosa Parks, there’s this tendency for the narratives of the classical period of civil rights to portray what people chose to do as spontaneous. I feel like that denial of the prolonged, patient, careful, organized groundwork really sucks.
(Source: firsttimeuser, via siminator-deactivated20120904)