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This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed by Charles E. Cobb Jr.


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Just finished this book. I expected it to bash those in the Civil Rights Movement who identified with "non violence". I myself am not a "non violent" and this book changed my perception of the "two" strategies. I originally thought "non violence" was weak. But now see it can be an effective tool that must be accompanied with people willing to defend. The author (Charles Cobb) did an amazing job of showing how the two worked hand in hand. Often, when direct physicality wasn't an option, we resorted to other, more creative ways to fight against the system. Work stoppages, slow downs and most notably, running away. There are many anecdotes of the self defense black Americans used in the struggle for freedom. Cobb even covers rebellion during slavery and shows the long history of us standing up to the power structure, with our backs against the wall.


I really liked when Cobb spoke on the struggles that CORE, SNCC and other groups, had when bringing their non violent way of organizing to a southern culture where the gun was a daily part of life, as was the terroristic violence. The southern men and women opened their homes and lives to these student organizers and often times protected them from attacks. 


Charles Cobb was a field secretary for SNCC and provides first hand knowledge and experience of the horror that was (and in a lot of ways still is) the American South (the north, where I'm from, is bad as well but it wasn't the primary focus of the book). I could go on and on but this is a very well written and researched book that gives a perspective of the Civil Rights Movement that isn't often showcased. I recommend everyone to check it out.


"Black resistance to white supremacy is deeply rooted in grassroots community organizing and best describes black peoples' effort at gaining freedom and full citizenship; efforts that began long before the demonstrations and protest in public spaces associated with the 1960's." - Charles E. Cobb Jr



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Walkman93, I share your comments about Charlie's work. I call him that because we have a few things in common. We worked at Howard University's radio station WHUR, he in the late 70s as a reporter, me in the 1980s as a public affairs producer. I interviewed him about his book in 2014 and I was truly ecstatic about this stellar piece of journalism and bravery. One thing though, the cover on my hardback book is different from the paperback. No problem. Still a good book that should be required reading in all journalism classes.

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