Although there were many non-violent protestors against racism in the past who are famous in their own right for their philosophies and ideologies such as Malcolm X as a prime example, but having read the autobiography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I can see that there is an alternative to violence, a much more peaceful alternative that leads to a better resolution.
Dr. King’s speeches and letters, which were printed throughout the book were incredible. Unfortunately, the only one I had heard before was the “I have a dream speech”, because let’s face it, who hasn’t? But it has to be said that his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was one of the most inspirational documents I have ever read. His use of metaphorical and other figurative language to get points across is simply magical and yet he does it with such ease. The way in which he speaks of non-violent protests not being creators of tension nut in fact, the surfacers of hidden tension, describing this tension as “like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all of its ugliness to the natural medicines of light and air.” This struck me profoundly.
However, it’s not just quotations from famous letters and speeches that are so mesmerising, even just his general writing produces the most thoughtful and inspirational quotes that are possibly readable. Quotes such as “a man who is not willing to die for anything is not fit to live”, it is so thought-provoking, you instantly think- what would I die for? This isn’t so much reading, as an actual conversation with yourself about your own moral proclivities.
Probably the main thing I liked and appreciated about Dr. Kings character, aside from his humility and willingness to fight for freedom for all, is his desire to learn from those with even the most radically different ideas to himself. For me, this is what sets him apart from all other major philosophical faces of our generation; he is the antithesis of narrow-minded and in fact incorporates the ideas of others in some of his more radical ideologies.
Although of course I may be wrong, I personally get the feeling that Martin Luther King knew that he would eventually be assassinated, but he was willing to work despite this fact. In conclusion, this was possibly the best book I have ever read and not only would I strongly recommend it, I believe it should be required reading for all.