Primary Source Analysis
“Heed their rising voices”
S. Francesca Gonzales
Primary Source Analysis: “Heed their rising voices”
In 1960 the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. was reaching its peak of protests in the south. Consequently civil rights activists suffered many abuses and violations of their rights by government authorities. Thus, “Committee to Defend Dr. King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South” was formed to help raise money for that purpose. In march of the mentioned year, the committee published an advertisement in the New York Times addressed to all Americans. Through portraying the current abuses the civil rights activist were facing, and denouncing some authorities as violators of the constitution, this document was aimed to urge Americans to make financial donations to help King and his followers in their struggle.
As the amount of student protests raised in several south states, also did the violence to contract attack them. The document points the sever way the authorities managed a pacific “sit-in” protest leaded by college students in Orangeburg. After hundreds of students tried to sit in lunch-counters with “whites” police lashed them out with tear gas, freezing water and arrests in cruel conditions. At the same time, King who was previously of all kinds of violence, was now being accused for tax-evasion felony for which he could be incarcerated for several years.
Another important way the publication encouraged Americans to support the civil rights movement, was accusing, some government authorities to be violators of the constitution. Not only the exaggerate measures to confront pacific protest was clearly exposed, but also literal statements ensuring this measures were infringing human rights. If we think a step further, forceful restrictions of protests violate people’s freedom of speech, and right to request compensation of grievances to the Government a, both stated in the first amendment of the bill of rights (U.S. Const. amend. I).