Review Of Martin Luther King's Why We Can T Wait

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Martin Luther King Jr’s (MLK) book Why We Can’t Wait shows a vivid depiction of the the civil rights movement of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The work centers on the ideology and methodology of the movement, and its work in the city of Birmingham in 1963. Through this work, MLK, who was the president of SCLC at the time, expressed his confidence of his movement, while also analyzing why other movements would yield inferior results. One of the greatest subjects of his criticism was the Nation of Islam (NOI) and its Civil Rights movement. The notorious NOI, with famous leading figures, such as Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, is often put into comparison and opposition with the SCLC. The movements of the SCLC and the NOI…show more content…
While MLK and the SCLC focused on nonviolent demonstrations to gain support and advocate for civil rights, the NOI worked to create isolated communities and institutions for African Americans with a more liberal use of violence. The key to the SCLC’s demonstrations is the nonviolent method. In his book, MLK stressed the importance of having no violence no matter the result or consequences. In explaining this approach, he claimed that “[The African American man] was unarmed, unorganized, untrained, disunited and, most importantly, psychologically and morally unprepared for the deliberate spilling of blood” (30). As a result, the SCLC trained its volunteer demonstrators to not retaliate in any case of abuse against them and accept arrests in order to gain support and attention. They were able to organize hundreds of non violence marches and demonstrations throughout the country in the 1960s. On the other hand, the NOI did not try to gain national support, nor did it try to refrain from violence. MLK mentioned in Why We Can’t Wait that those who supported the Nation of Islam were “expressing resentment for the lack of militancy…in the freedom movement” (31). Indeed, the NOI allowed for violence in order to achieve its ultimate goal, although it also believed that violence isn’t the only option ( The organization focused in preaching its doctrine of black superiority and established local temples, taught Muslim beliefs, created black businesses and schools, and rehabilitated many convicts and former drug addicts
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