Ideologies-HIST2020 - Gannon 1 Ideologies Defining the...

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Gannon 1 Ideologies: Defining the Movement for Civil Liberties In the United States in the mid twentieth century, positive, powerful ideologies employed by those committed to civil liberties strengthened the Civil Rights Movement. Some of these powerful ideologies were stemmed from philosophies of Christianity, Gandhi, and constituents of nonviolence. One prominent figure who actively used the “white people’s Christianity” to fight racism was Martin Luther King, Jr.; however, by no means did he stand alone. These advocates of civil liberties used philosophies of nonviolence and passive resistance to battle for equality and to put an end to racism (XVII ). The practice of these ideologies led to the rise of black, as well as white, societal support. The book My Soul Looks Back in Wonder, by Juan Williams, is a brilliant diagram of how these ideals shaped the Civil Rights Movement. Christianity holds a basis of moral philosophies that include “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemy.” Ideals encompassed in the Christian bible were utilized in order to greatly impact activism for civil liberties during the mid 1900s. In the Foreword section of the book, David Halberstam says, “The first stage of the movement was led by well-educated, middle-class black ministers, skilled at taking the white man’s Christianity –which had become their Christianity as well –and use it against him” (XVII ). The moralities and beliefs of Christianity were so interlaced in the activist’s cause, that sometimes their own stories would parallel the story of a particular character out of the bible. This happens in Chapter 18 when a man by the name of Karl Fleming, a pro Civil Rights, Southern journalist, and another journalist goes to Philadelphia, Mississippi to report of the disappearance of three black boys. They go to the sheriff and he proceeds to provide them with a “bullshit” story about how he let them go on the outside of town (124 ). Then, the next morning when they returned to the police station, they were met by a angry, white mob who proclaimed that these white reporters were responsible for
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Gannon 2 the Civil Rights Movement, or what they referred to as, “this trouble;” and if they did not leave Philadelphia that they would be killed. They slipped out of the courthouse and fled to a cousin’s house in town. They quickly found their way out of town in fear for their lives (124 ). This is very parallel to many stories of the bible in which disciples of Jesus or even Jesus himself were made to flee cities for fear of death. Jesus and his disciples were considered messengers who were provided to call people to a higher cause. The same could be said for these reporters who found their very lives being threatened for doing so. Stories like this inspired activism for civil
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Ideologies-HIST2020 - Gannon 1 Ideologies Defining the...

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