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A few thousand people gathered at the venue that evening, and when Dr. Martin Luther King took up the mike and spoke that he was 'tired' of being discriminated against and segregated all the time and that it was time to start changing. The principles to use, he stated were those of non-violence and non-co-operation, and these would bring about justice and freedom for his people who were undergoing constant humiliations at every step in their lives. Persuasion, and not coercion, and Christian love, and a basic desire to listen to one's own conscience and act according to the dictates of the conscience must be the motto to be followed, he said, and this would bring about more results than those of violence and bloodshed. During his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. stated that if his people would protest against these constant indignities with courage, and not with violence, with Christian dignity and love for the fellow being, then his people would be recognized in history at a later stage as a people that gave civilization new meaning and new dignity. (Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement)
The demands put across by Martin Luther King at this particular mass meeting were that bus operators would treat all Negroes courteously, that all passengers would be seated on a first come first served basis, and that more Negro drivers would be employed on routes where there were more Negroes. Soon after this incident, he wrote a book entitled 'Stride towards Freedom' wherein he advocated the methods of Christian love and non-violence that guided him throughout the time when he was opposing the treatment of his people in buses. It was soon after this that he started to hold weekly meetings to advocate these methods. He stated that it is a fact that 'hate begets hate', and that hate must be countered with love, and that an individual must be able to meet physical force with the strength and force of the soul within him. Therefore, he stated, it is imperative that the Negro must learn never to humiliate a white man as he would humiliate the black, but to learn to befriend him and win his understanding.
This, he said was the true method of fighting oppressive forces. When his fellow Negroes raised doubts about the virtues of the methods of non-violence, Martin Luther King explained, in his book, that non-violence was not a method of cowardice, as was believed by some, who could not believe that a method that did not involve the presence of bloodshed and tears would work in nay manner, though the method would seem to be extremely passive, it was only physically so; it was spiritually active, and only those who were courageous enough to be able to stand up for their rights would be able to use these methods. Non-violence also did not seek to defeat the opponent; in fact, it sought to arrive at a level of understanding that would eventually create the 'beloved community' where everywhere there would be peace and harmony. Another point to be remembered, he said, is that non-violence opposed the forces of evil, and not the perpetrators of the evil. (Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement)
In other words, the white man who was carrying out injustice on the black man must not be hated; it is the principle of injustice that must be eliminated. Non-violence also involved the principle that the person against whom the injustice was being meted out would be ready to accept his suffering without retaliating with violence, and eventually, love would replace hatred in their minds. The hope and faith that justice would be achieved is one of the core principles of the method of non-violence that were taught to the Negroes of the United States of America of the time by Martin Luther King. When miscreants bombed Martin Luther King's house, his family escaped unhurt. However, a furious mob of blacks had gathered outside his house and was threatening to retaliate with similar violence. This was when Martin Luther King demonstrated his capacity for tolerance and non-violence. He merely said that violence must be met with non-violence, and hate with love. These words actually helped to prevent a lot of bloodshed and a very real threat of a bloody riot was eliminated.
A year after the boycott of the buses, they were integrated, and this made Martin Luther King a world-renowned personality, and soon after, he joined forces with Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttles worth, and CK Steele to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. It was immediately after this that he tried to persuade the President Eisenhower to organize a conference on Civil Rights at the White House, and when this attempt failed, he organized a 'Prayer Pilgrimage of Freedom' to discuss the issues of freedom and civil rights. This meeting drew almost thirty-seven people in a march to the Lincoln Memorial on May 17, 1957, in Washington. The demand that was made by the blacks was that of the right to participate more in the legislative process of America, by being able to vote. When Martin Luther King happened to visit India in the year 1959, he became even more convinced in the inherent success in the methods of non-violence that had been advocated by Gandhi in his freedom struggle against British oppression, and that led to the attainment of independence for India from the English in the year 1947, when the British were forced to withdraw their troops from that country and clear out, lock, stock, and barrel. (Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement)
By 1960 more and more people were coming to believe that it was possible to fight against evil by using non-violent methods and Satyagraha. This was how students were able to take part in the movement against oppression, by organizing several sit-ins at lunch counters in their schools to protest against discrimination. The 'Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee was formed, and when these students and Martin Luther King sat at a lunch counter in a store in North Atlanta, he was arrested. Freedom Riders were formed in 1961, and soon the civil rights movement reached remote areas where there had been no such movements in the past. In 1962, at a civil disobedience campaign where there was a lot of violence and stone throwing at the policemen, Martin Luther King announced his displeasure and called for one day of penitence and a lot of prayer meetings through which the methods of non-violence could be preached as one way of being close to Jesus.
Martin Luther King felt that non-violence was a method in which certain repressed emotions that may lead to violence would come out and become dissipated, and this led to the popularity of his teachings wherein he was able to organize several campaigns for the young, and he was able to lead them on 'Freedom Walks', very peaceful demonstrations of protests. In each and every instance where he was the leader, justice triumphed, and evil was vanquished; not the evildoer or the perpetrator. For example, in1964, the 'Voters Rights Bill was signed by which Negroes had a right to vote, a historic first. What was even more surprising and pleasing was that more and more whites had come to realize that they were indeed accessories to the crimes of discriminations against the blacks of their country, and this is where success tasted the sweetest for Martin Luther King. After he received the Nobel Prize, in the year 1968 he was shot to death, and thus ended an era of good leadership to fight against injustices. (Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement)
When Malcolm X embraced Islam and later discovered that his master was in fact a hypocrite, he was quite disillusioned. However, after his visit to Mecca where he discovered that he would in fact be able to love whites as his brothers, he underwent a tremendous change in his thinking. He became willing to follow the type of principles being advocated by Martin Luther King, when he was shot down. Thus, both these leaders were martyrs, and it was this very fact that has served to make them popular over these previous years. Quite a few people associate both the men with the martyrdom of Jesus Christ himself, since both gave up their lives for an important cause. The followers of Martin Luther King were from the middle class of African-Americans, whereas the followers of Malcolm X were from the lower class ghettos. (Malcolm Little X (1925-1965))
While Martin had never indulged in crime, Malcolm had in fact been arrested for the various crimes that he had committed. This was why the principles taught by Malcolm differed from those taught by MLK. While MLK espoused the method of…[continue]
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