Thursday, June 11, 2015

Protesting versus litigating

The desegregation of Montgomery's buses had not come about as a result of the heroic protest by the city's masses. It was the fruit of the NAACP's lawsuit stemming from Rosa Parks's arrest. "All that walking for nothing!" the NAACP's chief legal strategist, Thurgood Marshall, said disparagingly. He had missed the larger truth, however. The legal victory highlighted the flaws of the NAACP's strategy of patience since the decision affected only the buses of Montgomery; theoretically, every other community in the South would have to take to the courts for similar relief. The NAACP's legal triumphs would henceforth be a preamble to the civil rights movement—the book of an Old Testament prophet. The bus boycott had introduced a new gospel. The struggle had moved out of the hands of the talented tenth and into the streets.

Diane McWhorter, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (2001, with 2012 Afterword), p. 95.

(The case was Browder v. Gayle.)

No comments:

Post a Comment