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45. Guidelines For A Civil Rights March

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A Civil Rights March is not a celebration but a nonviolent direct action against a specific injustice demanding a very specific response from the adversary. These guidelines are from Gandhi.

A Civil Rights March:

  1. has a specific, narrowly-focused, clearly-stated goal
  2. is not an end in itself but one tactic in a total strategy to reach a specific goal
  3. is only called for after negotiations have broken down with an adversary and then only to compel the adversary back to negotiations
  4. is costly (in time, money, and energy) to volunteers and the organizations they represent and that cost must be honestly and openly considered before the march is called
  5. is timed for maximum effect
  6. must require risk, courage, and stamina for the marcher (to demonstrate the marcher’s total commitment and genuine concern)
  7. is a serious-minded attempt to persuade the adversary that the request is just. A march is not a parade, party, or celebration that may confuse the adversary or even give the adversary more reason to hate or fear the marchers
  8. is not called to support a candidate, party, or issue which may divide the marchers, but a specific goal or purpose upon which the marchers are united
  9. must focus the print and electronic media on the specific, clearly-stated, narrowly-focused goal before, during, and after the march to avoid any confusion about the goal
  10. must be directed by carefully trained monitors and before the march all marchers must agree to obey those monitor’s commands
  11. must not seek to embarrass, coerce or terrorize the adversary, but quietly, calmly, and courageously convince the adversary that the marcher’s goal is just.

A Civil Rights Marcher:

  1. must be carefully trained in the goal of the march & sign a pledge to maintain standards of behavior & dress during the march that will convince the adversary that the marcher is determined & sincere
  2. must understand the principles of nonviolence and pledge to refrain from violence of fist, tongue, or heart during the march.
  3. A marcher must be a person of faith


Neither Gandhi nor King required sectarian allegiance to anyone statement of faith or religious practice, but both men stated clearly that a truly nonviolent march cannot be carried out by marchers without some faith commitment.

Mel White, Clergyman, Activist and Au;thor

Do you agree?


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