Quick Reads: “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed” by Charles Cobb

This challenging book examines the role of guns in the civil rights movement.


Charles Cobb

This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed

By Charles E. Cobb Jr.

BASIC BOOKS

In this challenging book, Charles Cobb, a former organizer, examines the role of guns in the civil rights movement. Looking beyond the conventional narrative (“Rosa sat down, Martin stood up…”), he finds that the nonviolent struggle against Jim Crow was often backstopped by armed supporters keeping the threat of white violence at bay. The title paraphrases a Mississippi farmer’s admonition to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who turned the other cheek in public while keeping guns at his home after it was bombed. Cobb’s thesis may thrill Second Amendment enthusiasts, but he argues that truly standing your ground means scaring off white thugs in hoods—not gunning down a black teen in a hoodie.

This review originally appeared in our July/August issue of Mother Jones. 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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