UNDERSTANDING UNDERLYING SIMILARITIES IN CIVIL RIGHTS PHILOSOPHIES: A SURVEY OF THE MEMOIRS OF CORETTA SCOTT KING, MALCOLM X, ANNE MOODY, JOHN HOWARD GRIFFIN, AND SARA MITCHELL PARSONS
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Since today’s society is so evidently enamored of the assertion of dichotomies, even where they may not exist, it is vital to take a closer look at what civil rights activists of the past have thought and done in order to realize how similar many civil rights leaders became as the Movement progressed in the fifties and sixties. The difficulty in placing each author in “conversation” with one another lies in selecting the most appropriate texts through which to do so. Therefore, this research uses the genre of memoirs in order to take a closer look into the thoughts and opinions of each figure, not just their actions. By conducting close reads and comparisons of these texts, it is evident that the thinking of all five activists bears striking similarities in the strategies they advocate. Conclusively, it is false to assert that a hard dichotomy exists between the methodologies of these five prominent civil rights activists. Each activist developed his or her views as their involvement in the struggle progressed and, with the exception of Anne Moody, gradually grew to become more similar to each other in their support of moderate and integrationist tactics.