3 Crucial Martin Luther King Quotes About Non-Violent Protest

Martin Luther King, Stride Toward freedom, 1958. After his house was firebombed January 1956 King describes how he spoke to a crowd that gathered outside.

‘We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with non-violence. Remember the words of Jesus: “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword”’

Part of a speech given by King on the day the Montgomery bus boycott ended

‘This is the time that we must show calm dignity and wise restraint. Emotions must not run wild. Violence must not come from any of us, for if we become victimised with violent intent, we will have walked in vain, and our twelve months of glorious dignity will be transformed into a time of gloomy catastrophe. As we go back to the buses let us be loving enough to turn an enemy into a friend.’

A comment made by King after the boycott ended

‘We have gained a new sense of dignity and destiny. We have discovered a new and powerful weapon – non-violent resistance.’

Discussion Points

  1. Why did Martin Luther King refer to “dignity” so often?
  2. How does the term “moral framework” link to King’s attitude?