In the courts, in bus terminals, in lunchrooms, and on countless picket lines across the country, Negro Americans, armed with song, prayer, and the law, have pressed ever more urgently against the barriers of racial discrimination. Litigation and legislation remain two of the principal methods to achieve progress, but they have been greatly strengthened by the addition of a creative and powerful force--nonviolent resistance to racial injustice.
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. recently summed up both the practical and moral power of this new instrument in the struggle for equality of opportunity. Legislation and court orders, he said, tend only to declare rights; they can never thoroughly deliver them. "Only when people themselves begin to act are rights on paper given life blood," Dr. King emphasized.
Nonviolent resistance, he said, is effective in that "it has a way of disarming the opponent; it exposes his moral defenses; it weakens his morale; and at the same time it works on his conscience.