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Programs

Promoter of peace

January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. was only 30-years-old when he traveled to India in 1959 to meet with the family of Mahatma Gandhi, a pioneer of non-violent civil disobedience. King's trip was funded in part by a Quaker group who supported him in his quest to deepen his understanding of non-violent resistance and to secure progress on civil rights in the United States.

Learning from Gandhi

King made a speech during his final evening in India:

“Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.

In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and those principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

Efforts towards Civil Rights

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to King in 1964 for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination. King was also known for his charismatic and impassioned oration and his opposition to the Vietnam War.

His leadership inspired many marches which were characterized by nonresistance. A march on March 7, 1965, that became known as “Bloody Sunday,” was a turning point in the effort to gain public support for the Civil Rights Movement. Footage of police brutality against submissive protesters was broadcast, resulting in national public outrage.

"Struggle on the high plane"

Martin Luther King Jr. had captured the hearts and resolve of his followers. They had done just what he'd asked them to do in his I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1963:

"But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

Martin Luther King Jr. Day a U.S. holiday

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a United States holiday marking the birthdate of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday, Jan. 15.  It is one of four U.S. federal holidays to commemorate an individual person. 

CSU celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the nation

This year, Colorado State University's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration will include events throughout the week of Jan. 19 and conclude with a day of service. For all event details, visit: www.mlkfortcollins.org.



Contact: Lance Wright
E-mail: Lance.Wright@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-6921