Sunday, January 15, 2012
Dream on Monday for Those Who Can No Longer Dream
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., studied Gandhi's teachings in college and visited India to gain experience with civil disobedience. From Gandhi, he learned that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.
The principles of passive resistance and civil disobedience is credited with winning civil rights for black Americans. No matter what, no protester ever fought back while the Rev. King was alive. To use violence would have nullified everything in which Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi believed.
There was a horrific scene in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963, during which black demonstrators were attacked with fire hoses, cattle prods and police dogs.
This protest was televised and shocked many Americans. President John F. Kennedy, Jr. addressed the nation on television about the issue of civil rights. All through 1963, JFK worked to pass a moderate civil rights bill. He died before he could complete the bill.
President Kennedy was assassinated in November of that year. After the assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the 1964 Civil Rights Act through Congress. Although codifying civil rights in law was a step in the right direction, Rev. King struggled with related issues for four more years until he was assassinated by a sniper on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN.
With Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., gone, the civil rights movement lost ground. A leader failed to emerge and the movement stalled.