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Martin Luther King Jr. And Nonviolent Resistance

776 words - 4 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

However, his approach to this subject allows us to realize that resistance does not need to take the form of violence. People can get the point across and make changes in the world without resorting to the same inhumane behavior they are fighting to abolish. King describes himself as an extremist, at first being disappointed but then recognizing the merit of this title. He was an extremist for the right reasons, driven by truth and love as Gandhi was. He then makes the statement, “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? (Erickson 32)” He is saying that we all must choose what we will fight for, good or evil, justice or injustice. We all have a choice to stand up for what is right, or to sit back and let things happen.
Gandhi also taught the principle of ahisma, which is “the refusal to do harm and the duty to do good (Erickson 40).” This refusal to do harm is the objection to violence, and choosing a more civilized method of resistance. Neither Gandhi nor King upheld violence; they did not wish to harm others. Their only desire was to get rid of the evil prejudices and unjust laws that permeated their...

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