Martin Luther King’s Journey to India

Martin Luther King, Jr

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day!

It wasn’t until I visited the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai three years ago that I learned that King and his wife Coretta Scott King actually visited India in February and March 1959 with the help of the American Friends Service Committee. The trip came about after then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said he wished he had met King during his 1956 trip to the United States.

Last year, on the 50th anniversary of the Kings’ journey, researchers in India found a long-lost tape of a radio address King delivered on his last night in India. In the speech King “emphasizes his intellectual debt to Mahatma Gandhi’s message of nonviolent social action.”

Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a world since Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.

A full transcript and an MP3 of the radio address can be found here.


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