What values did Martin Luther King Jr. reveal in his first speech as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major values that King revealed in this speech were a commitment to non-violence, a belief in democracy, and a belief that Christianity had a role to play in bringing about social justice in American society.

Of course, King and his audience were very upset with specific aspects of American society and democracy.  However, he specifically glorified American democracy in this speech.  This shows a commitment to the idea that America and its democracy were special. As King says:

And certainly, certainly, this is the glory of America, with all of its faults. (Yeah) This is the glory of our democracy. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a Communistic nation, we couldn't do this. If we were dropped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime, we couldn't do this. (All right) But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.

King also revaled the idea of nonviolence.  He rejected the idea that the protestors would use weapons or that they would act like the KKK by committing acts of violence against their opponents.  King told the crowd that

The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest.

He also said that

There will be no white persons pulled out of their homes and taken out on some distant road and lynched for not cooperating.

Finally, King reaffirmed the place of religion and Christian values in the movement that he and his audience were starting.  He specifically said that it was a Christian movement.  For example,

...we must keep God in the forefront. (Yeah) Let us be Christian in all of our actions.

 

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