Martin Luther King lived from 1929 to1968 in America, there was much discrimination against black people. Even though slavery had been abolished in 1869, most black people still lived in poverty. Black people earned half the amount white people earned and many could not vote. Martin Luther King was Black American Christian who believed that god made everyone equal. Because of his Christian beliefs he worked towards equal rights through non-violent protests; his beliefs being that there was never an excuse for violence as that doesn`t express the love of god – just hatred.
King followed in his father and grandfathers footsteps by becoming a pastor in 1954 in a Baptist church in Montgomery. Following Rosas Parks protest through refusing to move from her seat on the bus to give it to a white person, he became involved in the civil rights movement. Mixing the Christian idea of perfect love (Agape) with St. Thomas Aquinas` philosophy that an unjust law in the eyes of God is immoral, and therefore, not a law.
King said in his letter from Birmingham Jail that, “an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. ” Furthermore his campaign of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience began to take shape. After Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move from her seat to allow a white person to sit down, King decided it was time to start acting and after calling a meeting, where it was decided for all black people to stop using the buses.
This was called a ‘bus boycott’. After 381 days with buses being virtually empty (costing the company lots of money), the government passed a law to state that it was illegal to segregate black people from white people on the buses. This was a victory for King and his beliefs in non-violent direct action. King believed that the Good Samaritan parable was a prime example of how we should treat each other equally. In the parable a Jew is beaten, mugged and left for dead. A priest, a Levite both cross to the other side of the road when the see him.
However when a Samaritan sees him he helps him and pays for accommodation and care for him despite Jews and Samaritans despising each other. This parable showed you should love each other as neighbours despite religion or race. King demonstrated how you should stick up for your dreams, follow your beliefs and how violence isn`t needed to achieve your goal. His work made life in America better for everybody, his message to black and white people caused them to think and change the way things were being done.
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