1964 July 29

Civil Rights Groups Split on Suspending Protests

 

In response to urban riots in New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities, moderate civil rights groups on this day urged a moratorium on demonstrations and other forms of protest until after the presidential election. They were concerned that any future violence might help elect Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, who had opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act (July 2, 1964), as president in November. The more militant groups, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), refused to suspend protests and issued a separate statement arguing that demonstrations had been crucial to civil rights progress and should not be suspended.

The noted African-American author James Baldwin in 1963 published a prophetic article in The New Yorker warning of the potential for widespread urban racial violence. It was then published as a book, The Fire Next Times. Malcolm X, meanwhile, delivered an equally prophetic speech on April 3, 1964, in Cleveland, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” also warning of possible urban racial violence.

Read CORE’s Jack Weinberg’s “We Will Not Stop Demonstrating!”: http://www.crmvet.org/docs/weinberg.htm

Read James Baldwin’s prophetic book, The Fire Next Time (1963)

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