50 Years After Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize: The Power of Nonviolence

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to re-establish a broken community. —The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., University of Oslo, Dec. 10, 1964

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Alabama state police confront nonviolent protesters on what came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

It was 50 years ago this month that Martin Luther King Jr. made this statement during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Norway. It was during a season when thousands of young nonviolent protesters across the South were still standing against the nightsticks, water hoses and vicious dogs of local and state police. In fact, the timeline of events is worth noting:

  • The Nobel acceptance speech was delivered Dec. 10, 1964, five months after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.
  • The Nobel speech also came three months before the infamous Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, in which now-Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta — in a nonviolent posture — suffered a severe blow to the head by a police baton.
  • Five months after that confrontation on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., the Voting Rights Act was signed by Johnson on Aug. 6, 1965.

 

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The timeline illustrates the consistency of the protesters. Whether celebrating a victory or lamenting more violence against them, the protesters remained  nonviolent — what Dr. King often said was one of the keys to a successful protest. The 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Nobel speech is particularly relevant this month, given the recent protests in Ferguson, Mo., and across the nation.

We would do well to learn from the surviving protesters of the 1960s — now wise elders — who recall those days of unearned suffering. While the issues and circumstances are different, the principles of nonviolence are still equally effective. Let us take note that because of the protesters’ consistent nonviolent stance, their clarion cry did not go ignored. On the evening of March 15, 1965, President Johnson, before a joint session of Congress, finally adopted the words of the justice-seekers. Durimg his speech for voting rights, Johnson declared, “and we shall overcome.”

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I’d say this example gives all of America hope. Hope that the wisdom of our elders still works. Hope that, as Dr. King also said, “The arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Photo: Public domain photos from the National Park Service

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16 comments
myexper
myexper 5pts

This article is about the values of non violence, peaceful protests and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dr King for promoting and living these very values.

But instead, another person who started a comment section below, has convoluted this article into a massive criticism of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize with numerous false accusations, including a vile and despicable made up claim that our President looked the other way on the violence of the Ferguson protests and condoning the killing of police officers.

To address this libel and disgusting statement, please note that  President Obama did condemn the Ferguson riots saying "Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk – that’s destructive, and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted for it.”



IMCONCERNED
IMCONCERNED 5pts

The Nobel Peace Prize 2009 was awarded to Barack H. Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".  History will prove, it was for a good speech, not action.

jr8450
jr8450 5pts

Non-violent protest A-okay! Loot  and Burn is a crime and must be dealt with in a

violent manner faster than just talking about it. We must do what is required to end

this violence.

2Papa
2Papa 5pts

Too bad the world can't put this theory into practice. 

dlptpo
dlptpo 5pts

Do you offer anything for Americans without race being advertised, most Americans have always been non- violent.

IMCONCERNED
IMCONCERNED 5pts

Protests in Ferguson, MO escalated to the  Million Marchers chant that escalated to  2 police officers  murdered yesterday by a black thug to avenge the deaths of  Eric Garner and Michael Brown...Today's protesters have ignited deep hatred against police officers.

IMCONCERNED
IMCONCERNED 5pts

What a difference 50 years make.

In Ferguson, protestors were violent causing destruction, looting, burning  businesses  and putting cars on fire.

This last weekend, the Million Marchers in  Murray Hill, a NYC  neighborhood, marched chanting  "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it?..... Now!" 


 Today nonviolence is no longer considered a powerful and just weapon for protestors.

myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED 

Another article forum you use just to bash the President, no matter how irrelevant to the topic.


And actually, recent "history" has already proved your accusation wrong.

myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED 

Please consider the false, made up, libel comments you made to "ignite deep hatred against" President Obama. Your actions to "ignite deep hatred" are the same as that of the protesters.

IMCONCERNED
IMCONCERNED 5pts

@myexper @IMCONCERNED 

Check out the bulletin...it mentions the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Not sure what recent history you are referring to...certainly not , Benghazi, beheadings of Americans, ISIS mutilating people, Syria and the list goes on.


myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED

The Bush invasion and take down of Iraq destabilized the entire region, allowing extremist groups like ISIS to form and expand. And it was your Republicans who demanded cuts for protection of diplomatic establishments, like Benghazi. Look no further than the Republicans you support to correctly assign the blame you falsely imposed on President Obama.

myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED

Please re-read the article's title ..... "50 Years After Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize: The Power of Nonviolence"  ..... and note that the "Nobel Peace Prize" in question refers to "Dr. King" and not to President Obama, as you falsely stated.

Your introduction of more irrelevant issues such as ISIS , .... in an attempt to (falsely) blame President Obama for these issues only further enforces the fact that you will use any article forum for the sake of bashing President Obama, no matter how irrelevant to the topic.

IMCONCERNED
IMCONCERNED 5pts

@myexper @IMCONCERNED 

Benghazi funding....ISIS extremist group


In a testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform , Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, was asked, "Was there any budget consideration and lack of budget which led you NOT TO INCREASE  the number of people in the security force there (Benghazi)?"....Lamb responded, "NO SIR."


Obama first called  ISIS  a jayvee team.  He waited for a American to be beheaded and thousands of innocent people murdered to consider ISIS a extremist group.


The bulletin timeline refers to Ferguson, MO and other protests across the nation. Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama did not preach for peaceful protesting while he watched businesses being burned, police being spit upon  or protesters chanting for the killing of police.



myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED 

Again, please take the time to read the title of the article. The article is on Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize and not on Obama's as you continue to incorporate with convoluted reasoning.

myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED

And on Benghazi, while you continuously criticize the President for insufficient security, please note that ever since 2010, when the Republicans regained control of the House, your Republicans continuously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security. When this was brought up to Republican representative Jason Chaffetz by CNN, he acknowledged it. When asked if he voted for the security reduction. Chaffetz said "Absolutely"  ..... "Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country ....".  Your Republicans made the wrong priorities. In order to have more security, you need to fund it. As such, your position and that of your reference makes no sense.

myexper
myexper 5pts

@IMCONCERNED

NOT TRUE!

President Obama did condemn the Ferguson riots saying "Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk – that’s destructive, and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted for it.”

Your comments otherwise are false, made up, malicious and intended to damage the President (libel).