Martin Luther King Jr's Philosophy

Ebubechukwu Onyinanya

Martin Luther King Jr's Philosophy made more sense for America in the 1960's than Malcolm X's

He had Philosophy's that were gathered from different texts and sources, that all displayed his view on nonviolence, freedom, and change.
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Dr. King had Six Principles of Nonviolence, they were defined in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people, it t is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding, its outcome is redemption and reconciliation.
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people, it recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform, Unearned suffering is redemptive.
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate resists violence of the spirit as well as the body, its love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice, and God is a God of justice.

The Triple Evils that King wanted freedom seekers to work against

Poverty is unemployment, homelessness, and hunger it is the evil that comes to the most vulnerable.

Racism – prejudice ,ethnic conflict, segregation, sexism, discrimination against disabled groups, and stereotypes, are the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission.

Militarism – war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism,child abuse, and violent crime are forms of this evil, and a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on social uplift programs is defeating the purpose of a free nation.

Six Steps for Nonviolent Change

  1. Information Gathering: Understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, you must become an expert on your opponent's position.
  2. Education: It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue, gains you support and sympathy.
  3. Personal Commitment:Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence, make sure there are no hidden motives.
  4. Negotiation: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices.
  5. Direct Action: These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation.
  6. Reconciliation: Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent.


“Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in Why We Can't Wait, Penguin Books, 1963.