Celebrating Dr. King’s Legacy of Peace
Every Martin Luther King Day, children across the U.S. learn about Dr. King’s incredible work for equal rights and the essential role he played in bringing the end to legislated segregation. The power of the civil rights movement and the heart of King’s philosophy was not only the struggle for equal rights, but HOW they acted to demand equal rights: using nonviolence. In honor of King’s legacy this year, and every year, let us choose this day to act for justice.
King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence:
Activity: Take each principle, even just the first line, and in groups of five, have your students perform each principle in tableau. It is a challenge to decide how to represent nonviolence as an actor, but a good challenge!
SIX PRINCIPLES OF NONVIOLENCE
(taken from The King Center)
Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:
Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice, and utilizes the righteous indignation and the spiritual, emotional and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.
The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.
Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.
Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.
Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to help maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.
The universe is on the side of justice. Truth is universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world’s great religious include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. For the nonviolent practitioner, nonviolence introduces a new moral context in which nonviolence is both the means and the end.