Racism In Martin Luther King

870 Words 4 Pages
“Martin Luther King was a human being, no more or less so than any member of his family tree, or any other human being.” This sentence from Burrow’s work sums up beautifully Dr. King’s humble beginnings and allows one to stress the significance of the tradition and community that King was thrust into as a young champion of racial equality. In following I will attempt to provide a brief illustration of the racial landscape that King inherited as well as touch influential experiences that contributed to King’s ethical and theological development.
By the time Martin Luther King, Jr. was born the American legal process developed a complex system that perpetuated the precept of black inferiority and white superiority. Specifically, with the help
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He, like his parents, sought higher education and at the age of 15 attended Morehouse College-the alma mater of his father and grandfather. It was here where he was introduced to Henry David Thoreau and his essay “On Civil Disobedience.” A work that would sit in the back of King’s mind throughout his career and would influence King to take up the idea of peaceful protest. It was also at Morehouse where saw in life of his mentors Dr. Mays and Dr. George Kelsey how one’s deep religiosity and modern critical mind could be brought together and function as a unit. This witness contributed his entrance into Crozer Seminary, where King stepped into the power of the social philosophical traditions. Most notably was Walter Rauschenbusch’s Christianity and the Social Crisis that helped king theologically frame his previous experiences as a young black male growing up in the South under Jim Crow. It was also during this time where King was introduced to Marxism and the flaws of capitalism and the power of mass social consciousness as a means for larger societal change. Lastly it is important to note Gandhi, the figure that gave King the vehicle that would become the defining marker of the Civil Rights Movement. It was the practical use of love and nonviolence that helped King envision the true radical nature of the gospel combined with his desire for basic civil rights. King was a man who not only read important works but took the energy to critically engage the ideologies contained within them which ultimately challenged King’s thought, and provoked him to a deeper understanding of his self as well as the social environment in which he

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