Martin Luther King Jr.’s 6 Facts About Non-Violent Resistance

From his deep studies of Gandhi and his own experience, Martin Luther King Jr. developed a list of six facts to help people understand non-violent resistance and join with him in his vision.

King’s words are as insightful and thought provoking today as they were when he wrote them:

1. Non-violent resistance is not for cowards. It is not a quiet, passive acceptance of evil. One is passive and non-violent physically, but very active spiritually, always seeking ways to persuade the opponent of advantages to the way of love, cooperation, and peace.

2. The goal is not to defeat or humiliate the opponent but rather to win him or her over to understanding new ways to create cooperation and community.

3. The non-violent resister attacks the forces of evil, not the people who are engaged in injustice. As King said in Montgomery, “We are out to defeat injustice and not white persons who may be unjust.”

4. The non-violent resister accepts suffering without retaliating; accepts violence, but never commits it. Gandhi said, “Rivers of blood may have to flow before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood.” Gandhi and King both understood that suffering by activists had the mysterious power of converting opponents who would otherwise refuse to listen.

5. In non-violent resistance, one learns to avoid physical violence toward others and also learns to love the opponents with “agape” or unconditional love–which is love given not for what one will receive in return, but for the sake of love alone. It is God flowing through the human heart. Agape is ahimsa. “Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate,” said King.

6. Non-violent resistance is based on the belief that the universe is just. There is God or a creative force that is moving us toward universal love and wholeness continually. Therefore, all our work for justice will bear fruit – the fruit of love, peace, and justice for all beings everywhere.”

Adapted from Peace to All Beings, by Judy Carman (Lantern Books, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Juday Carman. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from Peace to All Beings, by Judy Carman (Lantern Books, 2003).

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LMj Sunshine

Thank you for sharing.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for sharing.

Rustam Jekson
Rustam Jekson2 years ago


Ostromir Bessalov

Thanks for posting.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.2 years ago

great article

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton2 years ago


Roger M.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Past Member
MIKE O.3 years ago

My wife Pat and I are very proud of the fact that we were both born on 15th January, Martin Luther King's birthday. We were living in America from 1963 to 1970, a time of historic changes. Soon after arriving, President Kennedy was assassinated. Martin Luther King was killed on our daughter's 7th birthday, so his birth and death are closely connected to us.
Robert Kennedy was also assassinated before we returned to England.

Nils Lunde

....., another GREAT man..........