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A. 3.a. Introduction

Gandhi’s promotion of nonviolent resistance to western colonialism had a direct influence on the earlier stages of this US movement. Various books have charted this influence, and/or made comparisons between Gandhi and his campaigns and civil rights leaders and campaigns (see for example Dalton, Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action (A. 2. Gandhi and Gandhian Campaigns) ). Three relevant books are:

Chatfield, Charles, The Americanisation of Gandhi: Images of the Mahatma, New York, Garland, 1976, pp. 802

Kapur, Sudarshan, Raising up a Prophet: The African American Encounter with Gandhi, Beacon, Beacon Press, 1992, pp. 222

King, Mary Elizabeth, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action, Paris, UNESCO, 1999, pp. 539

2nd edition New Delhi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Mehta Publishers, 2002, pp. 520.

The Civil Rights Movement inspired a range of later social movements in the USA and elsewhere – and continues to do so, as shown in 2012 by the Palestinian “freedom riders”. The US New Left and pioneers of the women’s liberation movement were deeply involved with Civil Rights, as were key organisers of ‘Chicano’ farmworkers. Their example encouraged Native Americans to assert and campaign for their rights. Overseas, Aboriginal rights campaigners in Australia looked to the example of the freedom rides, but also the ideas of black power. The campaign for the rights of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, launched in 1967, was also influenced by the US model in its rhetoric and nonviolent tactics.

The movement has also been perhaps the most intensively studied social movement, beginning with contemporary reportage and often ‘top-down’ histories centred on Martin Luther King, later including a variety of memoirs, and most recently studies of particular communities, oral history projects and the compilation of datasets. Its importance in the development of ‘social movement theory’ is well illustrated in McAdam; Snow, Readings on Social Movements: Origins, Dynamics and Outcomes (A. 7. Important Reference Works and Websites) , where at least 10 of the 39 articles discuss the Civil Rights movement (three of these are mentioned below).