by Brenda Walker Beadenkopf
Those who are passionate about today’s causes, but abhor violence, may be drawn to this newly republished handbook by Philadelphia Quaker Charles Walker (pictured above). During the 1950s and 60s, the struggle for civil rights and freedom carried on in lunch counters, buses and streets throughout the South appeared chaotic at times, but behind the headline-making demonstrations, both planning and training held participants to a non-violent commitment.
Walker, a Quaker activist and trainer in nonviolence, was determined to win social justice and racial equality. Seeing the need for a guide to help people seeking to make changes, he wrote the first manual on organizing for nonviolent direct action for the American Civil Rights Movement. Drawing on his work at the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the 1940s and his studies of Gandhi’s successes in India, Walker wrote concretely about the challenges workers for social justice would face and the discipline necessary for success — methods still applicable today.
Charles Walker’s daughter, Brenda Walker Beadenkopf is republishing this manual after his death, as an important piece of his legacy, trying to maintain the flavor and format of the original handbook. The manual is available online at Amazon.com, and at quakerbooks.org. She hopes Organizing for Nonviolent Direct Action will be utilized as it was in the 1960s with constructive programs that exemplify “nonviolent attitudes in action.” This little handbook is a precursor to the much larger biography of her father that Beadenkopf has written, A Quaker Behind the Dream: Charlie Walker and the Civil Rights Movement, the story of Walker’s impact on the Civil Rights Movement as an expert trainer in nonviolence. She hopes it will be out by early 2017, and will keep you informed.