Martin Luther King, Jr.
His life and philosopy
Guiding Question: What
was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and can we
follow his example today?
Read the following:
timeline of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
- Photos from the Seattle Times
- Speeches and writings
Jr. online, interactive quiz
- How does King characterize the choice between violence
and nonviolence in the struggle for freedom? What does he predict
violence will lead to? What does he promise nonviolence will lead
to? Looking back, was he a reliable forecaster?
- How does nonviolence work? What are the stages
of the process, as King describes it? What role does "tension" play
in this process? To what extent is violence part of the process?
How does public awareness contribute to making nonviolence a success?
Would it work in a society without freedom of speech and freedom
of the press?
- What kind of person takes part in nonviolent action,
according to Dr. King? To what extent are they fighters? To what
extent peacemakers? What part do politics and religion play in
their thinking? What part do hatred and love play in their decision
to act? Can you see yourself joining in a nonviolent protest?
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
- MK Gandhi
Institute - About Gandhi
When reading about Gandhi, focus on the two following
In the application of Satyagraha, I discovered,
in the earliest stages, that pursuit of Truth did not admit of violence
being inflicted on one's opponent, but that he must be weaned from
error by patience and sympathy. For what appears to be truth to one
may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering.
So the doctrine came to mean vindication of Truth, not by infliction
of suffering on the opponent but one's own self.
Satyagraha and its off-shoots, non-cooperation
and civil resistance, are nothing but new names for the law of
. . .
The movement of nonviolent non-cooperation has nothing in common with
the historical struggles for freedom in the West. It is not based on
brute force or hatred. It does not aim at destroying the tyrant. It
is a movement of self-purification. It therefore seeks to convert the
tyrant.... The essence of nonviolent technique is that it seeks to
liquidate antagonisms but not the antagonists themselves. In nonviolent
fight you have, to a certain measure, to conform to the tradition and
conventions of the system you are pitted against. Avoidance of all
relationship with the opposing power, therefore, can never be a Satyagrahi's
object but transformation or purification of that relationship.
How do Gandhi's ideas compare to Dr. King's?
Where does King seem to follow Gandhi's teachings, and where does he
Consider how nonviolence might be relevant to your
own lives. To what degree can we practice this philosophy of social
change at a personal level?
This lesson based on EdSitement's