Charles Cobb author of the book “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed” talks about how firearms helped make the Civil Rights Movement possible.
“Guns, firstly, to give you the shortest answer, guns kept us alive, which meant that guns helped enable us to organize at the grassroots in local communities across the Black Belt itself. I think the missed point, the missed lesson of Southern movement is that more than a movement of mass protest and public spaces led by charismatic leaders, what really defines the movement in the South, certainly in the 1960s–and, I would argue, going all the way back to the days of slavery and slave revolts–is grassroots organizing in rural communities.”
“I mean, you have–and these are ordinary people. These are not the Martin Luther Kings. These are not the Andy Youngs. These are not the Roy Wilkinsons. These are maids and cooks and sharecroppers and small farmers and mechanics and entrepreneurs and ordinary people. They’re the ones that form the backbone of the movement, they’re the ones that kept us alive with their guns, and they’re the ones that embraced us as we entered into these communities in an attempt to assist them in efforts at organizing the overthrow of white supremacy.”