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Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Johnny Carter: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Crusader for Non-Violence

A Paper Submitted to Dr. Ken Cleaver In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course American Christianity CHHI 692-B01

By Johnny Carter March 8, 2013

......................................................... King...................16 2 ................................................................................2 The Birth of A Dreamer..............................................................................................................8 The Call to Lead....................................................11 The Dream……………………………………………………………………………………............................................ ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................10 The Non-Violence Crusade......................................14 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………...................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction.........................7 Influences ............................................................................3 The Education of Dr............................5 Coretta the Woman by his side...........................

As a matter of fact. It was from the Birmingham jail that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was of the belief that the best way to address violence was by advocating for non-violence. go to the same school as a white person or share a meal in the same restaurant. these laws did a lot to keep blacks and whites segregated. 2013). King stressed that “ injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”1 Dr.php?acti (Jr and Luther 2001) (Jr and Luther 2001)on=read&artid=40 (accessed March 5.” Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources. that was not the case if you were of African American descent. 1 3 . During the early days of the 50s and 60s the laws of Jim Crow were in effect. Dr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail. The color of a persons skin determined whether that individual would be treated equal under the law. Alabama. King happened to be one of those individuals thrown into jail in Birmingham.. rather than take the abuse the black community began fighting back. Dr. this law put all black citizens at a disadvantage. However. King composed a letter that addressed the injustice that was being done to the black people. advocated for non-violence while pursuing his goal of justice for all. King everyone deserved to be treated equal under the law regardless of the color of their skin.Introduction Dr. As with most violent uprising a lot of people lost their lives and many more were thrown into jail. In the eyes of Dr. http://historicaltextarchive. Under the Jim Crow law a black person could not use the same facilities as a white person. In the letter The unjust treatment that was being heaped upon the black community was devastating. Martin Luther King Jr.

GA. MAS Ultra . One would not have to look far to see where Martin got his preaching skills from. Martin’s grandfather served as the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church a position Martin would Farris.”2 As a kid Martin used to play with two little white boys that lived on his street. during the summer you could find Martin down at the local YMCA or at the John Hope Summer Camp in Fort Valley. was born. King in Atlanta. 3: 56.School Edition. Christine King. Segregation was steadily on the rise yet on one Tuesday afternoon of January 15. 2013).1929 Michael King Jr. for he grew up in a family that was full of preachers. 2 4 . “Martin loved playing baseball and basketball. his father. "The Young Martin: From Childhood Through College" Ebony 41. Georgia. As the proud parents welcomed the birth of their first son one could only wonder if the parents knew that the baby they were holding in their arms was a future dreamer a mover and shaker someone who would soon become a major figure in the Civil Rights movement against injustice. As a kid Martin was known as a prankster he love playing jokes on his siblings as well as his friends. After several days of trying to play with his friends Martin finally asked his mother what was wrong. 1986. That day would forever be etched in the mind of Martin. no. EBSCOhost (accessed March 7. it was then that Martin at a young learned about that hated word called segregation. Martin and his family lived in the same house with their grandparents and a few other relatives. one day when he went to play with the two boys their parents would not allow them to come outside and play with Martin. and Mrs. grandfather and great grandfather were all Baptist preachers.The Birth of A Dreamer The United States was nearing the start of the Great Depression about the time Martin Luther King Jr. the second of three children was born to Rev.

1944. At the age of five Martin was enrolled in school. “Martin’s eldest sister Christine. however his parents had to dis-enroll him because the starting age for kids back then was six years. King Growing up Martin received his education through the Atlanta Public school system. September 20. Before Martin was even enrolled in school he had already learned how to read. attributes Martin’s thirst for knowledge to their Aunt Ida.php (accessed March 7. His mother a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician spent evenings teaching young Martin and his siblings how to read. T Howard Elementary from there he went to junior high and eventually made it to high Martin was not an ordinary student he was well advance for his age. books and encyclopedias to them as kids. However.Martin Luther King Jr.” Dr.”4 Once Martin was able to start school he attended David. 2013).Martin Luther King Childhood. "The Young Martin: From Childhood Through College” 5 . preaching was in his DNA and during his junior year at Morehouse Martin accepted the call to the ministry.drmartinlutherking. Michael’s name was officially changed to Martin Luther after the late Protestant Reformer.soon hold as an assistant pastor. Martin may have tried to resist the call of preaching nevertheless. “After a family trip to Germany in 1934. Martin enrolled in Morehouse College at the young age of fifteen. Thoreau’s essay on Civil “Dr. While attending Morehouse “Martin started reading the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Martin did not want to be a preacher he had plans to become a lawyer or a doctor. he was so advanced that he was allowed to graduate from high school early by skipping the first and last year of high school. http://www. who used to spend hours reading newspapers. The things Martin heard from the readings peaked his curiosity about the”3 The Education of Dr. 4 3 Ibid.

Research and Education Institute.php (accessed March 7. From Crozer.”6 At Boston University Martin had the privilege of talking to many supporters of non-violence. he believe “Niebuhr had overemphasized the corruption of human nature.php/kingpapers/article/chapter_4_boston_university/ (accessed March 7. These two men were also instrumental in shaping Martin’s views on non-violence and social injustice. At Crozer Theological Seminary. 2013). Luther King Education. Boston University.Disobedience captured Martin’s attention and it sparked the movement that would one day reshape the outlook of our nation. After graduating from Morehouse Martin then enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in 1948. Martin graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary where he received his Bachelors of Divinity. Martin went on to receive his Doctorate Degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University’s School of Theology in 1955 after graduation he became known as Dr.” The Martin Luther King.drmartinlutherking.” Dr. Martin also studied the works of Reinhold Niebuhr.stanford. 6 5 6 .Martin Luther King Jr. http://mlkkpp01. Brightman and L. Martin also attended his first lecture of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Martin went on to attend Boston University’s School of Theology.”5 Martin went on to graduate from Morehouse with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology. “Chapter 4. 2013). While attending Boston University Martin studied philosophy and theology under the tutelage of Edgar S. While attending Crozer Martin went on an intellectual pilgrimage seeking knowledge from the likes of Plato and Aristotle and many other great philosophers on ways to eradicate social injustice in the world. Niebuhr’s pessimism regarding human nature was not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature. Harold http://www.

(Kindle Location 402). then a date was out of the question. Dr. Kindle Edition 9 8 Ibid. King called Coretta they spoke Coretta agree to out and after a sixteen-month courtship on June 18. That was until a mutual friend gave him Coretta’s phone number. “it was in Boston that he met and fell in love with an attractive singer named Coretta Scott. The mutual friend assured Coretta that Dr. Alabama where Dr. Kindle Edition 7 . Even though Dr. over time they saw that their son really loved Coretta. (Kindle Location 397).King. 32. in the beginning his parents were not to thrill with their relationship.King says that he went out on a few dates but he did not meet any particular young lady that caught his eye. whose gentle manner and air of repose did not disguise her lively spirit.Coretta The Woman By His Side In his autobiography Dr. she was being prepared to be his helpmate. 1953 Dr. 1998). King’s father performed the ceremony. (New York: Warner Books. Coretta later said that when she first met Martin she had an “eerie feeling that while her husband was being prepared for his work. King says. King because he was a minister and if he was like the other “conservative. Coretta was not interested in meeting Dr. pious.King grew in his position as pastor and people began 7 Clayborne Carson.”9 The young couple soon moved to Montgomery. Coretta was from Ohio and being in Boston meant that she did not have many friends.minded”8 ministers she knew back in Ohio.King at the age of 25 had accepted his only pastoral position at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. As Dr.King. When their mutual friend told Coretta about Dr.King was the complete opposite so Coretta agreed to speak to Dr. and narrow. old. However.”7 While studying at Boston University Dr. Octavia Vivian.King and Coretta were married. Commemorative ed. Coretta: the Story of Coretta Scott King. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.

King also watched his father help organize community meetings. King said that he was indebted to his wife. While growing up Dr. King paid close attention to the community and political work that his father would be involved with. On November 17. Coretta knew that the more Dr. The senior King instilled religious and moral values into the hearts of each of his children. Whenever Dr.King was home he made sure he devoted his time and attention to Coretta. and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. Over the next eight years Martin Luther III. She would often state I have taken my responsibility as a wife and mother seriously. sacrifices.”10 “Dr. wherever there was an injustice the senior King was sure to be involved. without whose love. King would soon embark upon. as I take my role of wife to the leading symbol in the Civil Rights struggle. King’s personality for the organized social work that Dr. 31 8 . Kindle Edition. King observed how his father was not afraid to speak out against injustice when he saw something that was not right. 11 Ibid Clayborne Carson. voter registration drives. Dr. Dr.1955. Henry David Thoreau. George 10 Ibid. King’s father was just one of many men who would influence Dr.King to do. two years into their marriage Dr. King. Dr. King’s sister Christine says that their father played a major role in shaping Dr. Yet she never complained for she knew that this is what the Lord had called talk about his preaching he started getting more and more speaking engagements. King was in demand the less she would see of him. Dexter and Bernice would be added to the King family.” 11 Influences Dr.King and Coretta have their first child Yolanda Denise. Frederick Douglas. (Kindle Locations 463-464). Walter Rauschenbusch. “Coretta saw her role as a supportive one to her husband.

King said. Gandhi. Upon returning back to India Gandhi established the philosophy of nonviolence and “immediately mobilized the Indian community to work against the anti-democracy that was taking their right to vote away. K. always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.King would cling to doing his fight against injustice. the doer of the deed. In his autobiography Gandhi stated "Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed disapprobation. However. Gandhi a man of frail stature and humble beginnings dreamed of a society that would embrace everyone equally. It was Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and love that caught Dr. In his writings Dr. Gandhi believed if society held to the belief of an eye for eye then the whole world end up blind. “Gandhi was the first Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht. Gandhi had not fully embraced Christianity but it was his Christ like character that caught the attention of all. Gandhi moved to England where he studied to become a lawyer. 2013).Davis and Mahatma Gandhi are just a few of the many men who influenced Dr. However.progress.”12 Gandhi believed the best way to counter injustice was by the practice of non-violence. “Biography of (accessed March 8. Gandhi passed the bar in 1891. whether good or wicked. King’s thinking and philosophy.” It was these beliefs that Dr. Gandhi knew that his heart was not in law. King’s attention. Gandhi longed for equality for his people so while sitting alone shivering in a cold train station Gandhi made up his mind that he was going to fight for justice for all people. 'Hate the sin and not the sinner. Gandhi rejected the belief of striking back because all it does is lead to more violence.” The Progress Report. Growing up in India Gandhi saw first hand how the British imperialist government was mistreating his people. it is believed that the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi greatly influence Dr. upon trying his first case. 12 9 . King. http://www.

King asked his 13 Ibid. a young black lady by the name of Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. On December 1. December 5. They stressed non-violence and that in order for this boycott to be successful the black community would have to band together and help each other out. Clayborne Carson. “13 The Call To Lead While pastoring Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. a group of black women who lobbied for black issues in the city and state. The black community was tired of not having the freedom to sit wherever they wanted to sit. King along with the other leaders came up with a plan of action and they relayed it to the black community. (accessed March 8.1955. had been pushing for a boycott for months and now here was their chance.”14 After a few meeting with Dr. King was selected as the leader of the boycott. 14 10 . Dr. It was agreed that no matter how long it took no black person would ride the buses. 121 (The Montgomery Bus Boycott: They Changed The World 2013) “The Montgomery Bus Boycott: They Changed The World. Parks being a plant by the NAACP but those reports prove to be untrue. the Montgomery Boycott began. That meant no one rode the buses.person in history to re-invent the Christian ethic of love as a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. King was soon thrust into the spotlight. 2013). those with cars must be willing to carpool. http://www. that is when they realized that they had just witnessed a miracle. Dr. Anger and disgust quickly spread throughout the black community. if you had no car it meant you might have to walk. That evening at church Dr. So the “Women’s Political Council. King and other prominent black leaders a boycott was organized and Dr. There were some reports of Mrs. King said when the first bus drove pass his home that December morning and he and Coretta saw the bus empty.1955.montgomeryboycott.” Montgomery Bus Boycott.

and one pastor had his church burned. King stated.parishioners to be patience for the boycott might last a while. King was appointed the leader. Clayborne Carson. however things did not get any better. If accosted by a white person for their participation in the boycott respond in love. The Non-Violence Crusade During 1957-1968. Dr. The Religious History of America. Dr. King and several members that help organize the boycott had their homes bombed. King noted. King. Gaustad and Leigh E. 375 (Gaustad and Schmidt 2004) 16 15 Ibid. King and some other Baptist leaders formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference where Dr. 2004). It was during this protest that Dr. 55 11 . Dr. Schmidt. it conducted Edwin S. King was able to really understand the methods of Mahatma Gandhi. “that it was ultimately more honorable to walk the streets in indignity than to ride the buses in humiliation. Dr. Right after the boycott ended. King founded himself fully engulfed in the fight for social justice for all. Dr. King asked them to show some restraint instead of acting in a violent manner. Operating primarily in the South. King would not allow them to strike back. Right after the Montgomery Boycott. It was a great victory for the back community. The blacks started to arm themselves in order to fight back But Dr.”15 The boycott lasted for three hundred and eighty one days and the Supreme Court declared the bus segregation laws unconstitutional. The role of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was “to assist local organizations working for equal rights for African Americans. “I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of non-violence was one of the most potent weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom. (San Francisco: HarperOne. someone tried to burn down the home of Dr. ed.”16 This protest was just the launching pad for bigger things for Dr. rev.

The men promise to work together to get things done. and voter-registration drives. King was fearful for the safety of his family so he moved them back to Atlanta. King spoke on race relations and the on going struggle for justice and racial equality in America. King makes his way back to Montgomery where he continues his role as pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1958 he writes his first book Stride toward Freedom and while out on a book signing tour. With every protest and every lunch counter sit. However.” The King Center. King draws the attention if then Presidential candidate Senator John F Kennedy. Dr. the event was commemorating the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic decision outlawing segregation. King once he was fully recovered he vowed to continued his work for social justice..) . DC Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. 17 12 . King is being sought by everyone asking him to come to their state to help with their problem of social injustice.credoreference. 2013). a lady walks up to Dr. King is rushed into surgery for three hours. If I had Sneezed. From this attack Dr. s. Both men have their own agenda Senator Kenned is seeking the black vote and Dr. King is looking for laws that will give black’s equal justice.leadership-training programs. (accessed March 8.1957.” http://www. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.”17 May 17. King and stabs him in the chest with a letter opener.”18 At the prayer breakfast Dr. King writes the now famous Dr. The attack did not stop Dr. Dr. 18 “Address by Mlk at the Washington.v (Southern Christian Leadership Conference n. After the prayer breakfast Dr. 2013). where he details how the doctors told him if he had sneezed it would have been instant death. Dr. King was asked to speak at the “Prayer Pilgrimage in Washington D.thekingcenter. citizen-education projects. “Southern Christian Leadership (accessed March 8. At the same time Dr.d.

King and the black community still has to wait before they would get any laws signed. King replied. he became the youngest person to won the Nobel Prize Price for his efforts in working to achieve peace. May of that same year Federal troops are ordered to Birmingham. Dr.”19 The situation in Birmingham takes a turn for the worse the police turn fire hoses and attack dogs on the protesters yet Dr.Senator Kennedy wins the election. Just as fast as things appeared to moving in the right direction shock and dismay soon sets in. King and other religious leaders are jailed for public protest violations. From his jail cell Dr. Dr. King presses on with his work along the way in 1964 he is named Time Magazines’ Man of the Year. Dr. King and the black community are saddened for it seemed like everything they had been working for was taken away with the death of President Kennedy. fight for justice he gets 19 Ibid. 376 13 . to march against the Jim Crow laws of that state.1963. and Dr. April 12. November 22 of 1963 while visiting Dallas. King and his people continue fight on for justice. It was a great and historic moment for blacks. King and his people it was a step forward in the right direction. King is asked to come to Birmingham. Alabama. King writes the famous Letter from Birmingham. “because that was where injustice could be found and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. nevertheless a bill was proposed and for Dr. Gaustad and Leigh Schmidt. Texas President Kennedy is assassinated. Ever determined Dr. King knew that there was still much work to be done so he continues to organize marches and. Dr. Nevertheless. where he address the ministers from Atlanta who questions his decision to go to Birmingham. Dr. Dr. Edwin S. Once in Alabaman Dr. King urges everyone to restrain from violence. King goes to Washing to witness the signing of the Civil Rights Bill by President Johnson. By June 11 of the same year President Kennedy proposes a Civil Rights Bill of course there was strong opposition to the bill.

blacks were still being treated as second-class citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. It was standing room only people listen intently to what Dr..proquest.beaten kicked thrown in jail several more times never raising a hand to fight back. being someone who would always respond to the call of help he prepared for his trip to Tennessee. King felt about the nearness of his death. Even with the signing of the Civil Rights Bill and the Voting Rights Bill. In 1965. King and a group of black leaders arrive in Washington and witness the signing of the Voting Rights Acts. King is asked to come to Memphis.” The University of Memphis Law Review 41. http://search. Many people believed that Dr. The Dream In his autobiography Dr. no. W.J. That night Dr. Clayborne Carson. Tennessee in support of the black striking sanitation workers. Michael Cody one of the attendees in the church gives a very vivid account of that night. too long.”20 The next day that premonition came true. It was a shout from the hearts of a people who had been patient. (accessed March 8. 1968.” 21 It was a day where all America was waiting and W. March18. Michael states. 171 14 . Dr. 21 20 Ibid.J. King said “that summer of 1963 on the march of Washington a great shout for freedom reverberated across the land. It was like an eerie premonition that Dr. King delivered his famous I’ve Been to the Mountain Top Speech. April 2013). King was physically tired yet. Dr. King knew his time was up and many believed that his speech I’ve Been to the Mountain was his way of preparing the people on that day when he would be called home to glory. Dr. King was saying. Dr. “that the church was packed with sanitation workers and their families.Michael Cody “King at the Mountain Top: The Representation of Dr. King was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. 4 (2011): 701-9. Memphis.

He believed America could be a great place when America was able to get past the injustice that it was inflicting on the black people. http://search.liberty. In the eyes of the blacks Dr. Dr.ezproxy.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=48750069&site=ehostlive&scope=site (accessed March 8. 1986. King had a dream for America. Ebony. King’s dream included a world where he believed “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with like white boys and girls as sisters and brothers. King was the one man they could count on to get things done. 40. 2013). I Have a Dream.ebscohost. on the March on Washington King had a dream that the world would one day be a place where everyone would be treated equal a place “where people would be judge by their character and not the color of their skin.watching to see what plan of action Dr. 23 22 Ibid. King told the world about his dream. Dr. Ebony. I Have a Dream. King had a dream and on August 28.”22 Dr. 1986. Dr. Dr. King was a man sent by God for a time to wake up the conscious of America.1963.”23 It was a dream full of hope and a dream that is still lives on. 40. King had for 15 . Nevertheless.

and Leigh Schmidt.drmartinlutherking. 2011: 701-9.April 3-4 . "King at the Mountain Top: The Representation of Dr. Chapre 4: Boston University. Letter F From a Birmingham Jail. http://www. CA: HarperOne. Carson. Jr. Clayborne. The Religious History of America.. 1998. Cody. Dr." Ebony. 2013. Roberta Strauss. http://mlkkpp01. Martin Luther King Jr.php/kingpapers/article/chapter_4_boston_university/ (accessed 3 7.credoreference. Southern Christian Leadership Conference.Bibliography Address by MLK at the Washington. http://historicaltextarchive.J. Edwin.Martin Luther King (accessed 3 8.Michael. 1986. 2013). Revised Edition. 2012).Memphis.Martin Luther King Dr. http://ww. W. 16 .com/ (accessed 3 8. The Montgomery Bus Boycott: They Changed The World. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.standford. New York: Warner Books. King.K.montgomeryboycott. 2013). Gandhi.php (accessed 3 6. 2004. "The Young Martin: From Childhood Through College. Gaustad. http://www.progress.php?action+read&artid=40 (accessed 3 5. and Dr Martin Luther. San Francisco. 2013). 2013).drmartinlutherking. Biography of M. 2013).org/archive/theme/60756. Farris King. Christine.DC Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. 2012).net/martin-luther-kingeducation." The University of Memphis Law Review. http://www. Feuerlicht. (accessed 3 8. 2001.php (accessed 3 6.1968.

17 . 2006. Octavia.Vivian. MN: Augusburg Fortress Publishers. Coretta: The Story of Coretta Scott King. Minneapolis.