Martin Luther King Jr. taught non violence, reader says

January 21, 2011 Commentary Print Print

To the editor:

Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing man and his contributions to the civil rights movement in America are not only phenomenal, but also are without parallel.

Deservingly, we celebrate his leadership, strength, and perseverance on his birthday every year. However, there is something missing from our celebration of Dr. King’s life.

It is this something that I have been trying to impart to my son and it is for this missing element of his message that my son and I marched in the MLK parade with the Oklahoma Center for Conscience (a group that defends conscientious objectors to war).


What is missing from our celebrations, the news coverage, and the editorial pages on MLK’s day is a deep and profound respect for the method he used to accomplish all that he did. The method was nonviolence.

You see, Dr. King knew that if African-Americans in the South fought back with violence against the punches, kicks, fire hoses, and nooses of the racists, the only thing they would make would be enemies.

Dr. King understood the only way to make your enemy stop hating you was to love him or her first and he lived that message every day.

As I raise my son of mixed heritage, I am thankful that Dr. King, following in the footsteps of Gandhi before him, was able to effectively use non-violence resistance and civil disobedience to bring us the diverse America that we live in today.

However, as an advocate of peace, it pains me to see that in our media coverage much is appropriately made of what Dr. King did but not enough coverage is given to how he did it.

Write a Reply or Comment