Case Study Of The Sclc's Crusade For Citizenship

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Chapter 5 The SCLC’s Crusade for Citizenship
1. The SCLC acted on its initiative to gain the franchise even though this was not really successful. Their voting effort was called the “Crusade for Citizenship Program” and the main thrust of this program was to increase the black vote in South for 1958/1960 elections. For black communities, increasing the black vote was essential in promoting different goals and opportunities for black people.
2. The SCLC’s main strategies to implement the crusade were: creating the movement with preexisting political, religious organizations and integrating churches with the SCLC to push the movement forward.
3. Ella Baker was an important role player in the Atlanta SCLC. She was the first associate director
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To make blacks actively participate in political matters by doubling the number of black voters, thereby transforming an old isolated black to the “new negro” was an important goal of the crusade for citizenship program. However, the crusade failed to meet its goal of doubling the number of black voters. Both external and internal factors caused the result. First and foremost gaining the right to vote confronted a fierce opposition from whites. Whites’ challenges were: economic threats, gerrymandering and requiring a literacy test pass for voters (illiteracy was a big problem for blacks at that time). Also the internal problem was differing views between Baker and other leaders about leadership. While Baker tried to develop local leadership, the ministers held a view that we need a strong, charismatic leadership. But the SCLC was doing its best to achieve a cooperation with the NAACP. The SCLC was publicly and privately complementing the accomplishments, goals, and importance of the NAACP in the civil rights activism. The SCLC was also making sure that it was not interested in taking away the local leaders and financial resources from the NAACP. Later the SCLC and the NAACP started to raise and share their resources cooperatively. The SCLC was assuring the NAACP that they would not replace the NAACP’s legal approach with a direct, mass movement. Instead, through a labor division, the SCLC would concentrate on the implementation of non-violent, mass movements, while the NAACP still would use their legal means to enforce the SCLC actions. Also, CORE whose main strategy was to challenge the structured dominance by non-violent, peaceful means came into existence. Although CORE was organized mainly by whites, its concentration on racial issues made it an important organization to the civil rights movements. Later, it was affiliated with the NAACP and even in 1957, King joined its advisory
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