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Martin Luther King Jr. was an American activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King advanced civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. King participated in and led marches for blacks' right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other basic civil rights. As president of the SCLC, he led the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize some of the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered… Read more
his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The SCLC put into practice the tactics of nonviolentprotest with some success by strategically choosing the methods and places in which protests were carried out. There were several dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities, who sometimes turned violent. On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolentresistance. In 1965, he helped organize two of the three Selma to Montgomery marches. In his final years, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty, capitalism, and the Vietnam War.
In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Allegations that James Earl Ray, the man convicted of killing King, had been framed or acted in concert with government agents persisted for decades after the shooting.
and social, political, cultural and economic forms of intervention.
Some, however, support physical violence for emergency self-defense. Others support the destruction of property for conducting symbolic acts of resistance like pouring red paint to represent blood on the outside of military recruiting offices or entering air force bases and hammering on military aircraft. Not all nonviolentresistance is based on a fundamental rejection of all violence in all circumstances. Many leaders and participants in such movements, while recognizing the importance of using non-violent methods in particular circumstances, have not been absolute pacifists. Sometimes, as with the civil rights movement's march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, they have called for armed protection. The interconnections between civil resistance and factors of force are numerous and complex.
Nonviolentresistance, or nonviolent action, is the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, or other methods while being nonviolent. The term "nonviolence" is often used as a synonym of pacifism, but this equation is rejected by nonviolent advocates. Nonviolence specifically refers to the absence of violence and it is always the choice to do no harm or the choice to do the least amount of harm, and passivity is the choice to do nothing. Sometimes nonviolence is passive, and other times it isn't.
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