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Birmingham Confrontation Reconsidered: An Analysis of the Dynamics and Tactics of Mobilization

Aldon D. Morris
American Sociological Review
Vol. 58, No. 5 (Oct., 1993), pp. 621-636
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096278
Page Count: 16
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Birmingham Confrontation Reconsidered: An Analysis of the Dynamics and Tactics of Mobilization
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Abstract

Recent studies of the nonviolent civil rights movement maintain that the 1963 confrontation in Birmingham, Alabama succeeded because the movement's leaders deliberately provoked violence by whites. The violence forced the federal government to intervene, bringing victory for the movement. I challenge this thesis by examining the tactics and mobilization tools of the Birmingham movement. Evidence indicates that the local movement, because of its capacity for mobilization and its use of multiple tactics, generated the power that led to victory. A general discussion of social movement tactics derives from this case study. A social movement's internal organization, mobilization capacity, and tactical effectiveness are crucial to its failure or success.

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