When the Marching Stopped: The Politics of Civil Rights Regulatory Agencies

By Hanes Walton Jr. | Go to book overview

1. THE
INSTITUTIONALIZATION
OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS
REVOLUTION

Of the grand civil rights coalition and movement of the sixties, there are many questions still to be asked. Some people want to know what happened to it; others want to know whether it can be revived; still others are curious about its death and decline. A few are concerned about its impact. And some would raise the question, looking at the current plight of black people, if the movement occurred at all.

There are numerous answers. For instance, a lieutenant of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the Reverend Wyatt T. Walker, saw the apex of the movement in 1963. Social activist Bayard Rustin saw the transformation of the movement from protest to politics in 1964. 1 Some analysts date the demise of the movement, and therefore of the coalition that gave impetus to the movement, with the rise of the "Black Power" slogan in 1966, while others view it as the response to white backlash and consider the riots and burnings of 1968 as its death knell. Still others blame the Vietnam War, the death of black leaders (especially King and Malcolm X), and the election of Richard Nixon to the presidency in 1968 for the disruption of the movement and collapse of the coalition. A few would credit the political appeal and rhetoric of George Wallace

-1-

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