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The Power Of The Truth

MARTIN LUTHER KING AND MAHATMA GANDHI

August 28th, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington” led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech to thousands upon thousands of people struggling to end discrimination and gain racial equality. We commemorate his moving words and collectively remember that at one particular point in time, an individual had the courage to realize that in order to shift ideas and thoughts that are culturally embedded in society and lead a people to freedom, he had to be bold and live fearlessly.

One of the biggest influences on Martin Luther King, Jr. was Mahatma Gandhi. In the late 1920’s, Gandhi reached out to African Americans spreading ideas of peaceful demonstration that King would inevitably embrace. He was so moved by the ethics and effectiveness of nonviolent protests for justice in India that he soon adopted Gandhi’s concept of  “ahimsa” –a principle of nonviolence based on the belief that all living beings possess the spark of the divine spiritual energy and to harm or hurt another being is to harm or hurt oneself.

During a long awaited trip to India in 1959 in a broadcast on “All India Radio,” King declared: “If this age is to survive, it must follow the way of love and nonviolence that Gandhi so nobly illustrated in his life.” After returning from his trip, King wrote: “I have returned to America with a greater determination to achieve freedom for my people through nonviolent means.”

Because of his courage to stand peacefully in the face of violence, brutality, and hatred, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy will never be forgotten. His steadfast crusade to achieve racial equality and social change benefitted every member of a different race or creed. He embodied the true concept of living fearlessly and would not be intimidated by inhumanity. After the March on Washington, the FBI described King as “the most dangerous Negro leader in the country.” But the perceived danger he posed was due to nothing but his powerful and unstoppable fearlessness.

Although both Gandhi and Martin Luther King’s life ended at the hands of violence, these peaceful leaders still have an impact on a world beset with discrimination, terrorism, and war. After being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King stated: “” Nonviolence is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.””

The world must take up this unique weapon and release our people from the chains of discrimination, hatred, and violence. Only then will we live fearlessly, unite as one, and be free at last.



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