Second Reconstruction

The period from the end of the Second World War until early 1970s is popularly referred to as the “Second Reconstruction,” consisting of the rise of civil right movements and slow but progressive actions by the congress, federal courts and the presidents. This civil rights movement was named the “Second Reconstruction” because they were the second major reconstruction occurring after the first American war of1861-1865. In his addresses during the civil rights protests, Martin Luther King Jr. commonly referred to the protests by this name.

Civil rights movements led by Martin Luther king were generally peaceful. The involved peaceful road protests and lunch counter protests. For example, lunch counter protests North Carolina and Greensboro took place followed by attempts to desegregate city busses. In 1963 Martin Luther King led a mass protest that was greeted with brutality: the police unleashed high-power horse and dogs on the protests. The resulting images coming out of this incident horrified Americans from all walks of life.

On the contrary, the young black power radicals advocated for black separatism and favored Black Nationalism. The considered themselves at war with the all-white power structure. Over time, the young black power radicals became increasingly outspoken and militant. They became increasing rebellious and lost the appeal of the general black public religious creeds and conscience. While the young black power radicals preached freedom, they depreciated agitation. They were like men who wanted to harvest crops without preparing the ground. While many other civil right leaders such as Martin Luther King may have also believed in agitation, they did not believe in violent physical retaliation. This caused many young black radicals to be arrested and tried in courts.

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