Martin Luther King Jr. never met Mohandas Gandhi but yet the Leader of the non-violent Indian Independence movement had a great deal of influence over the similar movement for the liberation of African-Americans from the racist policies of Southern Democratic politicians.
MLK Jr. in his own words on Gandhi’s influence on him:
King wanted to visit India in the late 1950s and the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made sure his representatives reached out to King and arranged the travel.
King recalled his 1959 experience in India to Ebony Magazine.
The Indian edition of the Daily Mail had a great feature on King’s pilgrimage to India which was published on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013.
When King won his Nobel Peace Prize his acceptance speech he described the nobility of Gandhian philosophy:
” Nonviolence is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”
In 2009, historian Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi gave a lecture at Brown University about the links between the two men. Dr. Gandhi is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The American Revolution and Thoreau, along with teachers of peace, influenced Gandhi and King. We must learn to live in peace or perish as fools.