Martin Luther King Jr. and Nonviolent Resistance

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Letter from Birmingham Jail, the letter which Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to his fellow members of clergy while he was imprisoned in 1963, is founded on the idea of nonviolent resistance. His campaign to end injustice was not aggressive, but rather it was defensive of the treatment of the African-American people during that time. The only violence that took place was the offensive cruelty of the “white moderate.” Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters were nonviolent in their protests, similar to the nonviolent approach Mahatma Gandhi took when there was oppression in India in 1930. In March of 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian people on a satyagraha. This word has connotations of a “force contained in truth and love,” and it essentially means a nonviolent resistance (Erickson 23). The Salt March, in which Gandhi and his followers walked two hundred miles to the coast of India, ending in the town of Dandhi. They then waded into the ocean and collected the salt, and Gandhi encouraged the Indian people to make their own salt against government regulations (Erickson 29). This act was not violent, but it did resist the unfair laws of Great Britain forbidding the Indians to harvest and sell their own salt. Gandhi’s love for his homeland and his people led to his fighting for their rights. He recognized the truth in the fact that the Indian people should be able to rule their own land, and it was unfair for them to be under the administration of the British government. This concept of satyagraha, a force contained in truth and love, was the spirit of his nonviolent resistance against injustice. Like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. promoted this idea of nonviolent resistance. His statement, “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity” clearly states that he was in opposition to the treatment of blacks during that time (Erickson 30). However, his approach to this subject allows us to realize...
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