The Nonviolence pledge distributed to demonstrators organized by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights helped to insure that the Project C campaign of mass demonstrations created a "crisis of conscience" to turn Birmingham "upside down and right side up" rather than provoking an all out race war. The feeling that tensions were getting out of hand on both sides created the climate for a truce to be negotiated between the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and officials for the City of Birmingham.
SCLC staff members, including James Lawson, Andrew Young, James Bevel, C. T. Vivian and Bernard Lee led workshops to train more than 3,000 volunteer demonstrators that participated in organized marches in the principals and tactics of nonviolent protest. The following commitment was signed by those who received training:
Text of pledge
I HEREBY PLEDGE MYSELF, MY PERSON AND BODY, TO THE NONVIOLENT MOVEMENT. THEREFORE I WILL KEEP THE FOLLOWING TEN COMMANDMENTS:
- MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
- REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory.
- WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.
- PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
- SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
- OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
- SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.
- REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
- STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
- FOLLOW the directions of the movement and the captain on a demonstration.
I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to perservere.
Besides demonstrations, I could also help the Movement by: (Circle the proper items) Run errands, Drive my car, Fix food for volunteers, Clerical work, Make phone calls, Answer phones, Memeograph, Type, Print signs, Distribute leaflets.
Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C. - F. L. Shuttlesworth, President
- quoted from Marjorie Longenecker White (1998) A Walk to Freedom: The Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, 1956-1964. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society. ISBN 0943994241