What did Martin Luther King, Jr. believe in?


Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a number of interrelated principles that served as the foundation of his social activism, including Christianity, non-violence and racial equality. King viewed his Civil Rights work from a spiritual perspective and attempted to distance himself from party politics.

King showed no major attachment to either of the two major political parties. His objective position was the result of a personal philosophy that considered the American Civil Rights question as being higher than politics. King was deeply influenced by his Christian faith. He generally framed his public discourses within the context of Jesus Christ's teachings. In particular, he viewed non-violence as aligning with Christ's injunction to "turn the other cheek."

Biography.com relates King's famous devotion to non-violence. King became convinced of the power of non-violence following a visit to India. Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist who had closely studied Ghandi's work, mentored Dr. King and guided him in the implementation of non-violent tactics. King and his associates in the civil rights movement did not respond to aggression with violence or hate. During marches, they continued to demonstrate peacefully even when presented with physical harm.

King also believed in reparations. He argued that the United States government should redress slavery by bestowing the African American community with monetary compensation.

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