Conceptions of Revolution and violence, 1961–1967

Daniel Burton-Rose

in Guerrilla USA

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520264281
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520946033 | DOI:
Conceptions of Revolution and violence, 1961–1967

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In principle, the right to armed self-defense was universally acknowledged in the civil rights movement. Robert Williams, one of the most influential forefathers of the late 1960s Black Power movement, was known for his insistence on armed self-defense and commitment to internationalism. Yet despite some violent manifestos, he was never a revolutionary. The concept of revolution percolated into the civil rights and student movements of the early 1960s not by way of practitioners of violence but via pacifists. Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most innovative and courageous civil rights group of the early 1960s, began using the word “revolutionary” to describe themselves as early as 1961. As domestic radicals came to identify more closely with revolutionaries abroad, potentially revolutionary developments accelerated at home. Urban riots, in particular, shook the nation. Race riots had occurred cyclically in United States history and, up until the 1960s, invariably consisted of whites terrorizing minority ethnic populations: African Americans, Chicanos, or Chinese, depending on the region.

Keywords: Robert Williams; armed self-defense; civil rights movements; revolution; student movements; radicals; United States; revolutionaries; riots; Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Chapter.  4812 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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