Violence and Non-Violence in Race Relations

March 25, 1960

Report Outline
Danger of Violent Race Conflict in South
American Experience with Negro Protest
Non-Violent Resistance to Segregation

Danger of Violent Race Conflict in South

Flare-ups of VIOLENCE in connection with “sit-in” demonstrations at lunch counters by colored college students in the South suggest that the Negro's campaign for full equality with white citizens has entered a new and potentially dangerous phase. Until the present student protests got under way, the Negro had directed his main drive for racial equality through courts and legislatures. Notable progress has been made there in recent years in establishing principles which the Negro is now seeking to apply in every field.

The sit-in movement began peacefully in February and in the main has been conducted without disorder; its leaders say they are guided by the principles of non-violent resistance developed by Mohandas K. Gandhi in his campaign for the independence of India. But so-called passive resistance is provocative in that it may develop feelings of frustration in opponents and lead to physical attack upon the resisters. The student demonstrators have already experienced some violence, but there has been nothing to date that could be called a race riot.

Non-violent resistance is not new to the American Negro; he has practiced it many times in the past. Most recently it was used with success in the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of 1956. What is new is the sudden widespread commitment to this tactic by Negro students, with the full support of their elders and with the full support of established Negro organizations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Aug. 12, 1983  Black Political Power
Jan. 18, 1980  Black Leadership Question
Aug. 15, 1973  Black Americans, 1963–1973
Nov. 26, 1969  Racial Discrimination in Craft Unions
Sep. 11, 1968  Black Pride
Feb. 21, 1968  Negro Power Struggle
Mar. 08, 1967  Negroes in the Economy
Jan. 19, 1966  Changing Southern Politics
Oct. 27, 1965  Negroes in the North
Jul. 21, 1965  Negro Revolution: Next Steps
Oct. 14, 1964  Negro Voting
Sep. 21, 1964  Negroes and the Police
Jul. 03, 1963  Right of Access to Public Accommodations
Jan. 23, 1963  Negro Jobs and Education
Mar. 25, 1960  Violence and Non-Violence in Race Relations
Aug. 05, 1959  Negro Employment
Apr. 18, 1956  Racial Issues in National Politics
Apr. 18, 1951  Progress in Race Relations
Dec. 17, 1948  Discrimination in Employment
Jan. 10, 1947  Federal Protection of Civil Liberties
Aug. 25, 1944  The Negro Vote
Jul. 01, 1942  Racial Discrimination and the War Effort
Mar. 25, 1939  Civil and Social Rights of the Negro
Jul. 22, 1927  Disenfranchisement of the Negro in the South
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights: African Americans
Race and Hate Crimes
Segregation and Desegregation