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The Spirit and the ShotgunArmed Resistance and the Struggle for Civil Rights$
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Simon Wendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780813030180

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813030180.001.0001

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Gandhi, God, and Guns in Tuscaloosa

Gandhi, God, and Guns in Tuscaloosa

(p.42) 2 Gandhi, God, and Guns in Tuscaloosa
The Spirit and the Shotgun

Simon Wendt

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the civil rights movement in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, led by Reverend T. Y. Rogers, who followed Martin Luther King’s Christian-Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent social change. Rogers utilized his position as the minister of the First African Baptist Church to support the southern freedom struggle. His arrival in 1964 marked the beginning of a rejuvenated nonviolent freedom movement, which would force white authorities to integrate the city by 1965. Just like King and other prominent black civil rights leaders, Rogers accepted and benefitted from the black Tuscaloosans to arm for protection against white aggression. A highly sophisticated defense group that formed in June 1964 made sure that the minister remained unharmed, especially against the Ku Klux Klan. Tuscaloosa’s indigenous freedom movement, thus provides another example of how nonviolent direct action and armed resistance worked side by side in southern civil rights campaigns.

Keywords:   civil rights movement, Tuscaloosa, T. Y. Rogers, Martin Luther King, Christian-Gandhian philosophy, nonviolent social change, First African Baptist Church, Ku Klux Klan, armed resistance

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