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Martin Luther King. Key events & successes to mid-60’s Influences on King & black population Similarities with Gandhi Sarah Bennett, 15 th January 2010. Brief summary of his life leading up to early part of civil rights movement. Born 15 January 1929 as Michael King

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Martin Luther King

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Martin luther king l.jpg

Martin Luther King

Key events & successes to mid-60’s

Influences on King & black population

Similarities with Gandhi

Sarah Bennett, 15th January 2010


Brief summary of his life leading up to early part of civil rights movement l.jpg

Brief summary of his life leading up to early part of civil rights movement

  • Born 15 January 1929 as Michael King

  • Enters Moorhouse College 1944 (aged 15), graduates 1947

  • Studies at Crozer Theological Seminary, graduates 1951, begins doctoral study at Boston University

  • Marries Coretta Scott 1953

  • Becomes pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery 1954

  • Receives doctorate 1955, first child born (has 4 in total)

  • Involved in Montgomery Bus Boycott Dec 1955-Dec 1956

  • Forms Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957

  • Writes ‘Stride towards Freedom’ 1958 (attacked during book signing)

  • Visits India Feb-Mar 1959


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Brief summary of the key civil rights protests in the first half of the ’60s

  • Greensboro sit ins, Feb 1960 – students followed King’s teaching

  • King’s non-violent strategy adopted all over Deep South, e.g. Freedom Riders, May 1961

  • King arrested and jailed during protest march, Spring 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama

  • Kennedy vote and Civil Rights Bill 1963

  • ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ – 28th Aug 1963, MLK delivered famous ‘I have a dream’ speech

  • Kennedy assassination, Johnson and Civil Rights Act, June 1964

  • Mass marches from Selma to Montgomery, March 1965

  • Congress pass Voting Rights Act empowering national government to register those whom states refused to put on the voting list


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From 1964 to assassination

  • Awarded Nobel Peace Prize Dec. 1964

  • After 2 key pieces of legislation achieved, King focused on poverty, recognising race and economic issues closely aligned

  • 3rd April 1967, speech opposing Vietnam war

  • ‘Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community’ (1967)

  • Civil rights movement increasingly radicalised

  • King had made enemies along the way

  • Assassinated 4th April 1968 during a visit to Memphis, Tennessee


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Influences on MLK

  • Daddy King

  • College and seminary influences

  • Social philosophers such as Thoreau

  • Mohandas Gandhi

    • Inspiration

    • Theory > practical application

    • Satyagraha


Similarities and differences between gandhi king l.jpg

As Leaders:

Leadership

Importance of religion

Identified with poor masses

Fundraisers/campaigns

Appeal

Power

Racism

Patriots

As Men:

Backgrounds

Inner struggles

Attitudes to women

Courageous

Master communicators

Similarities and differences betweenGandhi & King


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Influence of Gandhi on U.S. black population

  • Many African-Americans adopted Gandhi’s teachings as way of life, not just MLK

  • But influence there before MLK

  • Press coverage & visits from Gandhi’s followers to US

  • MLK as bridge between ‘Gandhi-inspired activists and church-centred followers of Jesus’ (Kapur)


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Summary of key points

  • King combined ideas and philosophies drawn from different cultural traditions

  • Both King and Gandhi combined profound religious faith with deep social involvement

  • Civil Rights Movement

    • Montgomery as a result of Gandhi’s influence/earlier decades

    • Period of 1960-5, high levels of sustained activity, not just King & SCLC)

  • ‘Both (King & Gandhi) reinterpreted and reapplied values deeply embedded in their cultures to great advantage for the cause of justice and nonviolence’ (Nojeim)


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Bibliography

  • Nojeim, Michael – Gandhi and King

  • Kapur, Sudarshan – Raising up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi

  • Oates, Stephen – Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King

  • Lewis, David – Martin Luther King: A critical biography

  • Ling, Peter – Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Ed. by Ward, Brian & Badger, Tony – The Making of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

  • Branch, Taylor – Parting the Waters

  • Dalton, Dennis – Mahatma Gandhi

  • King, Mary – Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Ed. by Roberts, Adam & Garton Ash, Timothy – Civil Resistance and Power Politics (chapter 4)


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