Martin Luther King Junior- Thoughts and Politics
King was a deeply spiritual man. Much, if not most, of the theory behind his activism emanated from his religious beliefs. Christianity, to King, is “a spirit of brotherhood made manifest in social ethics.” In essence, we are all equal and we all deserve equally. According to King, all people are strung together in a network of life–race, religion, gender, etc. simply do not matter. Our societies need to reflect equality for all of us to prosper: “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. ”
Politics of the King
Many of us are aware of King’s political contributions. He is widely considered the father of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, paving the way for racial and ethnic equality in the law and in the attitudes of Americans–a much more difficult task. King drew heavily from the philosophy of social change of Gandhi, that said that changement must be facilitated non-violently. Through tireless effort and charismatic speeches, King was able to mobilize countless people from across the political, racial, and religious spectrum to his cause. He always knew he must be accepting to be accepted. Martin Luther King, Jr., made history, but he was also transformed by his deep family roots in the African-American Baptist church, his formative experiences in his hometown of Atlanta, his theological studies, his varied models of religious and political leadership, and his extensive network of contacts in the peace and social justice movements of his time. Although King was only thirty-nine at the time of his death, his life was remarkable for the ways it reflected and inspired so many of the twentieth century’s major intellectual, cultural, and political developments.
Vision and Motivation
For decades, civil rights activists had been fighting these laws and social customs to secure equality for all Americans. It was in this environment, seeing the possibility of an America where black and white citizens were truly equal, that Martin Luther King, Jr. joined in the fight for civil rights for black Americans.
Goals & Objectives
A Baptist minister by training, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sought to raise the public consciousness of racism, to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. While his goal was racial equality, King plotted out a series of smaller objectives that involved local grassroots campaigns for equal rights for African Americans. In 1955, King became involved in his first major civil rights campaign in Montgomery, Alabama, where buses were racially segregated. It was there that Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to vacate her seat in the middle of the bus so that a white man could sit in her place. She was arrested for her civil disobedience. Parks' arrest, a coordinated tactic meant to spark a grassroots movement, succeeded in catalyzing the Montgomery bus boycott. Parks was chosen by King as the face for his campaign because of Parks' good standing with the community, her employment and her marital status. Earlier in 1955, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year old African American girl, had been arrested for the same crime; however, King and his civil rights compatriots did not feel that she would serve as an effective face for their civil rights campaign. Rosa Parks helped contribute to the image that King wanted to show the world, a crucial tactic in his local campaigns. With Parks in jail as a victim of Montgomery's racism, King was able to develop an effective response to her arrest that involved the entire community. King mobilized Montgomery's African American community to boycott the city's public transportation, demanding equal rights for all citizens on public transportation there. After a year-long boycott, a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle banned racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. In many ways, the Montgomery bus boycott kicked off a national...
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