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What was Martin Luther King Jr.'s approach to the Civil Rights Movement?

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Martin Luther King's approach to the Civil Rights Movement was one of nonviolence. According to the King Center, “Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.” He believed this was crucial to getting the demands of civil rights protestors heard on the national, and even international, stage.

Dr. King followed in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi in India who also took the peaceful approach in protesting against British rule. Dr. King’s approach was in sharp contrast to that of the more militant Black Panthers, who wanted to retaliate against the violence directed at the civil rights protestors themselves. Dr. King felt that the power of words, combined with nonviolent resistance such as protests, civil disobedience, and strikes and boycotts would be more effective than violence. For example, as spokesman for the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, he was instrumental in peacefully forcing the...

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