GREAT LIVES: Gandhi’s affect on the American civil rights motion | Opinion

Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy influenced important civil rights activists in America.


By P. Anand Rao

During a trip to India in 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi had lived in Mumbai. It was in this house that Gandhi started his Indian movement for truth and nonviolence, called Satyagraha.

The house had been turned into a museum, and the upstairs room where Gandhi had slept still held the mattress and shoes. When King visited him, he asked if he could spend the night in this room and said, “I am not going anywhere else. I will stay here because I am getting vibrations from Gandhi. “

The curators moved two cots into the room, and Rev. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, spent the night next to Gandhi’s mattress. Soon after, King announced to All India Radio that he had decided to adopt Gandhi’s methods of civil disobedience as his own.

Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha inspired the development of our own civil rights movement. Dr. King returned from his trip to India and advocated a Gandhian strategy of nonviolence.

But Dr. King wasn’t the only civil rights activist who followed Gandhi’s philosophy. While Dr. King became acquainted with Gandhi and his practice of nonviolent protest in the late 1940s, James Farmer began following the teachings of Gandhi as early as 1940. Farmer used Satyagraha techniques and practices at the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago in 1942.

Comments are closed.