Since you have the day off from school, I’m sure most of you already know what today is: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So much more than just a day off, though, today is a perfect day to educate one another about the powerful teachings and philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr.
King was born in 1929 to a teacher and Baptist minister. Born and raised, King attended school from grade school to high school to college, all in his hometown of Atlanta. He entered into his freshmen year at Morehouse College around 1945. This is when he was introduced to the writings of Henry David Thoreau—namely his ‘Essay on Civil Disobedience’.
King became very captivated with an idea presented in Thoreau’s essay—that idea: fighting back by not fighting at all. Thoreau’s essay discusses one’s refusal to follow along with an evil system as being resistance enough. Finding this idea so strong, King branded violent confrontation as “both impractical and immoral.”
At this point, King was still unsure that ‘turning the other cheek’ would deliver the lasting effect that he wanted. Was nonviolence a powerful-enough approach to making social change? Seeking to further his knowledge and understanding of nonviolent resistance, King looked into the life and writings of Mohandas Gandhi. After his reading, King was reassured that his nonviolent approach would create results.
At 25, King became a minister. It was around this time that he started making changes to things he didn’t like. His first focus became the segregated Montgomery buses. These buses said that African Americans could not sit with Caucasians. So King boycotted these buses and got lots of others to boycott the buses along with him.
This only sparked the beginning of the changes King would come to make. Learn more about the man’s life on our MLK Blog post from last year. And, as always, thanks for reading.