Radical pacifism and the black freedom movement: an analysis of Liberation magazine, 1956 - 1965

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Fleming, Tamara
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This study explores radical pacifists’ intellectual engagement with the black freedom movement by examining the New York-based magazine Liberation between 1956 and 1965. It argues that two priorities shaped Liberation’s responses to the movement: the concern to promote the philosophy and practice of nonviolent direct action, and the concern to advocate radical social change in the United States. Until 1965 Liberation promoted the civil rights movement as a potential catalyst for the nonviolent reconstruction of U.S. democracy. Liberation became a forum for exploring the common ground as well as the tensions between radical pacifist priorities and those of various black freedom activists. The tensions are particularly apparent in Liberation’s reflections on the challenges of linking peace activism with the freedom struggle in the early 1960s, and in its 1964-65 debate over civil rights leaders’ strategy of coalition with the Democratic Party in the context of the escalating war in Vietnam.
radical pacifism, black freedom movement, Liberation magazine, United States history, civil rights movement, nonviolent direct action, intellectual radicalism, peace activism