The Historical Purport of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

What most White historians in the US call the Civil Rights Movement was in fact a movement which had the same purport, dignity and righteous content as these other wars of national liberation. That the southern part of the movement, the one favored by the US authorities because of its “turn the other cheek” profile, was the real content of the liberation movement is belied by a number of factors: (1) Organizations like the Deacons for Defense and Justice, the Alabama-based Black Panthers for Self Defense (1964), and the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP had to form themselves into guerrilla militias to fight the violent repression of the southern authorities (headed by the Ku Klux Klan). (2) The Martin Luther King-type leadership increasingly came out in support of the armed revolutions waged by the peoples of African countries, and the people of Vietnam. (3) The US authorities had to assassinate MLK, the most peaceful representative of the “Civil Rights Movement.” (4) The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) changed its named from “Nonviolent” to “National” before MLK was murdered. Only a mindset thoroughly infected with white supremacist assumptions could separate this liberation movement from those of the other anti-colonial liberation movements raging all over the world, and reduce it to the “Civil Rights Movement” and its fruit to “the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

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