Nonviolence pledge

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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


  1. MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory.
  3. WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  10. 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.

Name _____________________________

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.

Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights
Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C. - F. L. Shuttlesworth, President
Civil Rights Movement (19561965)
Documents Segregation laws · ACMHR Declaration of Principles · Nonviolence pledge · Birmingham Manifesto · A Call For Unity · Appeal for Law and Order · Letter from Birmingham Jail · Birmingham Truce · Civil Rights Act of 1964
Events Freedom Rides · Who Speaks for Birmingham? · Selective Buying Campaign · Birmingham Campaign · Good Friday march · Children's Crusade · Police dogs and firehoses · List of racially-motivated bombings · 1963 church bombing · May 1963 riot
Organizations Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights · Birmingham City Commission · Ku Klux Klan · Miles College · NAACP · Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Activists Fred Shuttlesworth · Martin Luther King Jr · A. D. King · James Bevel · Frank Dukes · Edward Gardner · Lola Hendricks · Colonel Stone Johnson · Autherine Lucy · Vivian Malone · Joseph Lowery · James Orange · Nelson Smith Jr · John Porter · Abraham Woods Jr
Other figures Albert Boutwell · Robert Chambliss · Bull Connor · A. G. Gaston · Art Hanes · Lucius Pitts · Sidney Smyer · J. B. Stoner · "8 white clergymen" · Virgil Ware · "4 little girls"
Places Kelly Ingram Park · A. G. Gaston Motel · Movement churches
Legacy Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail · Birmingham Civil Rights Institute · Birmingham Pledge


  • 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