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Clarence Laws leads the Alabama Sympathy March through downtown Dallas to dramatize the murder of the Rev.James Reeb and to support voting rights. Courtesy the Dallas Public Library, PA83-42/'1965-3-14.1. The "Dallas Way": Protest, Response, and the Civil Rights Experience in BigD and Beyond Brian D. Behnken* A MERICANS NOW ALMOST UNIVERSALLY THINK OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ii. movement as a war waged between peaceful, supplicating black activists and violent, reactionary white racists. Turn on any news retrospective about the middle ofJanuary, or during Black History Month, and you will likely see scenes from Martin Luther KingJr.'s "I have a dream" speech or the March on Washington juxtaposed against images of whites attacking nonviolentAfrican Americans with fire hoses, billy clubs, and German shepherds . While the factuality of these events cannot be disputed, the binary images ofviolence and nonviolence have come to represent the civil rights movement as a whole. But this is only a part ofthe story. Many communities witnessed a great deal ofprotests and black activism that did not generate a violent white response. The emphasis on violent confrontations has all but obscured the roles that many local people played in bringing civil rights to blacks across the country. Such a focus has skewed the larger picture of the struggle and left many heroes unsung.1 * Brian D. Behnken received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis. His dissertation compares the African American and Mexican American civil rights movements in Texas. He would like to thank Monic Behnken, Beverly Bossier, Chris Danielson, Charles W. Eagles, Gregory D. Smithers, Clarence E. Walker, Simon Wendt, and the anonymous readers at the Southwestern Historical Quarterlyfor their helpful comments and criticisms on earlier drafts ofthis paper. He also wishes to gratefully acknowledge the staff at the Dallas Public Library's Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, especially Carol Roark. 1 Historians are beginning to rearticulate the basic outlines of the civil rights movement in new and exciting ways. David L. Chappell argues that the movement was not as violent as previously thought, an argument similar to the one I make below. See Chappell A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death ofJim Crow (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 2, 153. Darlene Clark Hine andJacqueline Dowd Hall both argue for an understanding of the movement disconnected from the King


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