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Martin Luther King Jr.: What Manner of Faith

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Martin Luther King Jr.: What Manner of Faith

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 to Reverend Martin Luther King Sr., in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from a segregated high school, at the age of 15 years old. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father. He attended Crozer Theological Seminary, where he was elected president of a white senior class (Bennett 29). In 1953, he enrolled at Boston University completing his residence for the doctorate degree. In 1954, Martin Luther King Jr. became a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama. He was a strong worker for civil rights. He was an executive member of NAACP (National Association of the Advancement of Colored People). He also formed the SLC (Southern Leadership Conference). In 1955, he accepted leadership of a nonviolent demonstration, a bus boycott. On December 21, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation on buses unconstitutional (Adams). It was in Boston; he met Coretta Scott and married her. During the trying times, King has been arrested, his home was bombed and he was subject to abuse.

First, King had a powerful faith. He drew inspiration from profiler religious figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, by creating a theme for the movement. He believed like Jesus, he would use nonviolence and love to redeem and make whole a nation. As he pursued this personal faith, he was tormented by threaten death and his little girl suffering. In David Garrow biography of King, he talks of King hearing an inner voice saying, "Stand up for justice, stand up for truth...It was the voice of Jesus saying still fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone" (Our Time 134). This message became deep and personal faith.

Secondly, King insisted on embracing the New Testament on unconditional love and the Old Testament on righteous justice. He said, "It is not enough for us to talk about love; There is another side called justice...Standing beside love is always justice. Not only are we using the tools of persuasion-we've got to use the tools of coercion" (Our Time 135). It was King beliefs of love and justice that he wrote a letter to white clergymen, who attacked the movement demonstrations as being too radical. King wrote: "non-violent direct action seeks to create... a crisis and foster such tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. I confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension', the Negro great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not...the Ku Klux Klanner, but white moderate, who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefer the negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice" (Our Time 135). In other words, King wanted the healing balm of love, but needed to live with the intensity of militant



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