Martin Luther King Jr’s argument for the effectiveness of nonviolent protests can be summarized with the a quote from his 1964 book

Martin Luther King Jr’s argument for the effectiveness of nonviolent protests can be summarized with the a quote from his 1964 book, Why We Can’t Wait: “Punish me. I do not deserve it. But because I do not deserve it, I will accept it so that the world will know that I am right and you are wrong.”
It exemplifies the main tactic of how MLK and the civil right movement used non-violent protests to gain social equality. The overwhelming use of non-violence in the ’60s civil right movement can be mostly attributed to MLK. The rhetoric he used inspired his followers, and shook those opposed. He was a prolific actor in several non-violent protest, which I will dissect to see how the use of non-violence influenced civil rights in the United States.
The non-violence movement was a major success for the civil rights movement, but at the time, most activists were divided into two schools of thought. There was the legal route to take take down opressing laws and instigate new laws that created equality under the law: “under brilliant and dedicated leadership, the NAACP moved relentlessly to win many victories in the courts.” They were quite successful, eventually leading to the Supreme Court ruling school segregation to be unconstitutional. The other group wanted to take a more militant approach. Prolific speaker Malcolm X spoke openly about literally fighting white oppression and becoming militant, eventually leading to the formation of the BPP (Black Panther Party) after his assassination in 1965. This movement was successful, but only in areas where African Americans had the ability to meet and train. In the time frame of Why We Can’t Wait militancy was not possible in the south. As MLK said, “But the Negros in the south. . . assessing the power of the forces arrayed against him, could not perceive the slightest prospect of victory in this approach. . .”
At the time, neither of these approaches were entirely successful on their own. When the nonviolence movement appeared after the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-’56, I was met with sceptical glances from the pro-violence militant groups of the time. After all, nonviolence is only for cowards, right? This argument “lost it’s force” during the Montgomery and Birmingham protests. During these protests, non-violence was used as a weapon by taking the weapons of the enemy and making them useless. Jail was no longer a punishment, but a badge of honor. They marched and sat and looked their oppressors in the eye as they said, “the eyes of the world are now on you.”
“The brutality with which officials would have quelled the black individual became impotent when it could not be pursued with stealth and remain unobserved. It was caught—as a fugitive from a penitentiary is often caught—in gigantic circling spotlights.”
Why We Can’t Wait os