Thursday, September 29, 2016

Exploration four - Lauren Cobb

The Nashville sit-ins of the civil rights movement are regarded as one of history's most successful peaceful protests. The movement was organized by the Nashville Student Movement, an organization of students from Nashville's four African American colleges, and renowned pacifist James M. Lawson. Plans for the sit-ins began in late 1959 and Lawson offered workshops to train the students in techniques of discipline and self control. At first the sit-ins elicited little reaction, but soon police officers began arresting the students. However, with each wave of arrests, another wave of students took their place. The sit-ins continued until the bombing of Z. Alexander Looby's house. Looby was a black lawyer who  represented the arrested students. The bombing prompted a march on city all in which mayor Ben West declared sympathy for the movement. The city was desegregated on May 10, 1960. The sit-ins' success is a testament to the effectiveness of peaceful protest. In the documentary "Ain't scared of your Jails" it was stated, "gangs of toughs were gathering downtown. The students sat in as planned. The police did nothing to protect them. The students remained true to their training in nonviolence." The students' resolve, self control and dignity was inspirational and surely contributed to the movement's success.

Black students sit in seats at a restaurant designated for whites

"The Dentist" tells a story about Curt Lemon, who was boisterous about is bravery until he fainted when faced with a dentist. He was so embarrassed that he prompted the dentist to pull a perfectly good tooth in order to redeem himself. I believe this speaks to the pressure that these men felt to personify the ideal soldier and their fear of the embarrassment of failing to do so. The author supports this by describing Lemon's smile after proving himself.

"Sweetheart of the song Tra Bong." describes the story of a soldier who brought his girlfriend to Vietnam. She became intoxicated by the country and the war and eventually disappeared into the wilderness. The story teller, Rat Kiley, comments that the story proved how war affects and changes people. Even women, who are only thought of as sweet and innocent, can be corrupted. The author's dialogue at this point is very effective in making his point.


  1. I agree with your analysis of the Dentist. I think Lemon felt pressure not to look weak in front of his comrades and that led him to get the tooth pulled.

  2. I think its awesome that its known as one of the most successful peaceful protest ever! also, I think the author wrote "sweetheart of the song tra bong" to display the difference between soldiers lives in America and how different it was in Vietnam

  3. I agree with your thoughts regarding the dentist however, do you think he got the tooth pulled for deeper reasons other than to simply show his comrades he's not a coward?

  4. It would take an incredible amount of practice and discipline to be a nonviolent protester in a situation similar to that.

  5. They had to be mentally strong not to retaliate in a situation like this

  6. They had to be mentally strong not to retaliate in a situation like this


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