Martin Luther King Jr. And The Struggle For Civil Rights

2205 words - 9 pages

Many individuals define the civil rights movement to be the collective efforts of African Americans to secure equal access to opportunities for the basic privileges and rights of a U.S. citizen. One of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action, as a method for equality is, Martin Luther King Jr. King was an American clergyman and one of the principal leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States and a prominent advocate of nonviolent protest. For more than a decade, from 1955-1968, King led a peaceful twentieth century revolution. King's unique style of non violent methods of protest and his struggle for equality united the black community, in order to correct the wrongs opposed to African Americans due to white racism. King's challenges to segregation and racial discrimination helped convince many Americans to support the cause of civil rights in the United States.King was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. King grew up with the idea of becoming a preacher, thus continuing the tradition in the King family. King would start in the same church as his father did, but expand to preaching to the nation. Themes of King's sermons related heavily to the black church tradition. He was a brilliant man both intellectually and academically. At the age of 15, King was accepted to Morehouse College and graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1948. King would continue on to the Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and he would later travel to Boston University where he got a degree in systematic theology. His public-speaking abilities developed slowly during his college years. All through his life, he was influenced by things that were related to Christian theology, the struggles of demoralized peoples. He also studied the teachings on nonviolent protest of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi broadened King's interpretations of the ethics demonstrated by Jesus, in that Gandhi taught King that Jesus' ethics of "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies" could be applied to a nation or ethnic group, rather than only conflicts dealing with individuals. King said that from his background he gained his amendable Christian ideals, while from Gandhi he learned his operational technique.King strongly preferred peaceful methods to solving conflicts in society. According to John H. Cartwright, "By protesting in a spirit of nonviolence, King insisted, and by demonstrating a willingness to suffer without striking back, blacks would defeat racism while at the same time educating whites in the error of their ways and paving the way for interracial amity. King told that through the power of love, blacks would win the hearts and consciences of their oppressors. Nonviolence was the path to a "Beloved Community", the actualization of the "Kingdom of God", a society "in which men and women live as children of God should live... a kingdom controlled by the law of love. " One such non violent protest held by King to lead...

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