A Choice of Nonviolence

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a [hu]man, but you refuse to hate him [or her]." Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Choice of Nonviolence

During the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. espoused an ethic of nonviolence, arguing that love would overcome hatred and that protest without violent methods would win the day. It was a strategy preceded by other nonviolent movements including certain abolitionist movements, as well as Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad.

The Kentucky Raid of 1847 is in fact an example of nonviolent response to provocation. Although the Kentuckians who came to Cass County to retrieve African Americans whom they considered their property wielded weapons, the Raid was strangely enough carried out without violent incident. Even when some African Americans thought to protect their freedom by mounting an offense, a spirit of peace prevailed. Truly, history is rife with such awe-inspiring stories in which nonviolence has resulted in peace and justice where violence would undoubtedly have resulted only in bloodshed. 

The strategy of nonviolence is no less relevant and useful today. Organizers of the Kentucky Raid Mural project, "Sanctuary and Deliverance," have contemplated an important question: might including in the raid mural images of violence provoke violent or other unfortunate reactions? The process of answering this question has involved asking as well if ignoring the violent potential that existed in the raid sugarcoats history. Mural organizers are aware that these are critical questions, and for that reason the group welcomes public engagement of these issues. We hope that you will use this public Internet space to contribute your own unique perspective. We would also like to encourage you to write longer pieces that may be submitted to a long-term digital history of the Underground Railroad in Cass County.  

No comments:

Post a Comment