ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on January 16, 2016

Celebrating Dr. King's Birthday

For those who lived through the 1960's, the era of the Civil Rights Movement, the movie Selma is very real. Dr. King was very much in the news for his great non-violent campaigns which brought about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Dr. King was first exposed to the idea of ahimsa (first do no harm) when he attended the Crozier Theological Seminary. It was here that he began to understand Gandhi's great truth force principles.

In 1955 he was one of the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus. This was Dr. King's first campaign where he instituted the concept of non-violence.

In 1959 he visited India where he came to appreciate all the more his attraction to the concept of ahimsa. Swami Prabhupada of the Hare Krishna Movement explained ahimsa this way, "Non-violence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the body, but actually non-violence means not to put others into distress." It really has all an encompassing philosophy and meaning. In fact it is a very important virtue in Hinduism. It is through living this principle that one can achieve self-realization as a human being and union with God. Jesus taught this whole concept of ahimsa when he said, "You heard it said that you should not kill, but I say to you do not be angry with your brother. It is out of anger that murders happen." Gandhi admired Jesus as a teacher and for his philosophy and how he lived his life. The concept of ahimsa is a universal philosophy and not found in one tradition.

In the movie Selma you will notice there were a lot of women and children who were involved with carrying out the actions of bringing about change. A number of men felt they could not remain non-violent when people attacked the marchers. John Lewis was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) a while back and he mentioned this situation. He was one of the men who could remain non-violent. He was the leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and eventually became a member of Congress. He was brutally beaten at Selma when people tried to cross the bridge. Eventually the graphic scenes of cops beating the marchers was big factor in Dr. King winning the support of the public and finally President Lyndon Johnson. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed because the public was outraged at the actions of the police. In 1964 Dr. King was instrumental in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for which he received the Noble Peace Prize.

Notice that Dr. King did protest injustice, but he always had a plan or piece of legislation he supported which would bring about constructive change. You can't just protest. You have to support a constructive alternative with a concrete plan.

I think in the present situation we need to support a piece of legislation which requires all the police departments to be overseen by a civilian board which has subpoena power and can enforce judgements against police who are bad actors. Another suggestion is to have each police officer carry personal liability insurance, so the taxpayers do not have to be continually paying for lawsuits against cops who become too violent. Often criminal cases fail, so the citizen sues in civil court for damages. Often the city and the citizen settle out of court, but the public pays the bill in increased taxes. It would deter officer because they have to pay higher insurance rates when something happens.

I personally think that protest by itself is not enough to enact change. You have to have a constructive plan for change to really motivate people in the long term. Both Dr. King and Gandhi were masters of coming up with solutions. They did not just protest. They were the change they wanted to see in the world. They lived their values and worked with people who they disagreed with to bring about change.

It was a very emotional moment for many of our generation when the group walked across the Edmund Petts Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and many others joined the group of 5,000 people of all religions and races who walked from Selma to Montgomery. Those of us who could not be physically present where there very much so in spirit. It was as though all of America was walking on the bridge. We couldn't tolerate injustice anymore.

We did not just protest, however; we actually changed society. Poll taxes and literacy tests disappeared into the dust bin of history. Members of Congress, mayors and governors of color were elected from that day forward.

Eventually Obama became our first black president. Many who lived through these times doubted we would one day elect a black president. It happened, but there is so much to do to make the world a better place. Women do not have equal pay for equal work. Some can't get educations because of their gender. White supremacists are terrorizing and using violence. Notice that few are saying we should stop all white supremacists from coming into the United States. It is way too easy for violent people to amass too many weapons.

On the other hand, some people are actually starting a campaign to stop hate. They are posting signs on their businesses which state that they welcome every one at their businesses. It is a wonderful idea to see this constructive personal solutions. In some communities city councils are welcoming the new refugees. We need more of this in the world. Be the change!




    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • radhapriestess profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks for reading. I lived through those intense times. Yes, you have it right. It is an internal thing. Welcome back. I have not seen you post on the pages for awhile.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very informative article with a good message of the importance of nonviolence and tolerance. Our happiness lies in our ability to tolerate. And tolerance paves way for non-violence. If everyone can practice tolerance honestly, there will be no violence in this world.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)