The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Unknown ![rw-book-cover|200x400]( ## Metadata - Author: **Unknown** - Full Title: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Category: #articles - Tags: #biography - URL: ## Highlights - In my own life and in the life of a person who is seeking to be strong, you combine in your character antitheses strongly marked. You are both militant and moderate; you are both idealistic and realistic. And I think that my strong determination for justice comes from the very strong, dynamic personality of my father, and I would hope that the gentle aspect comes from a mother who is very gentle and sweet. ([View Highlight]( - During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience” for the first time ([View Highlight]( - Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery’s territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. ([View Highlight]( - whether religion could be intellectually respectable as well as emotionally satisfying. ([View Highlight]( - Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state. ([View Highlight]( - capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism failed and still fails to see that life is individual and personal ([View Highlight]( - The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social contracts theory of Hobbes, the “back to nature” optimism of Rousseau, the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. ([View Highlight]( - More precisely it is the chronicle of fifty thousand Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. ([View Highlight]( - Were we following an ethical course of action? Is the boycott method basically unchristian? ([View Highlight]( - From this moment on I conceived of our movement as an act of massive noncooperation ([View Highlight]( - I was now almost overcome, obsessed by a feeling of inadequacy. In this state of anxiety, I wasted five minutes of the original twenty. With nothing left but faith in a power whose matchless strength stands over against the frailties and inadequacies of human nature, I turned to God in prayer. My words were brief and simple, asking God to restore my balance and to be with me in a time when I needed His guidance more than ever. With less than fifteen minutes left, I began preparing an outline. In the midst of this, however, I faced a new and sobering dilemma: how could I make a speech that would be militant enough to keep my people aroused to positive action and yet moderate enough to keep this fervor within controllable and Christian bounds? I knew that many of the Negro people were victims of bitterness that could easily rise to flood proportions. What could I say to keep them courageous and prepared for positive action and yet devoid of hate and resentment? Could the militant and the moderate be combined in a single speech? ([View Highlight]( - While I would not let this experience tempt me to overlook the need for continued preparation, it would always remind me that God can transform man’s weakness into his glorious opportunity. ([View Highlight]( - It was the Sermon on the Mount, rather than a doctrine of passive resistance, that initially inspired the Negroes of Montgomery to dignified social action. It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love. ([View Highlight]( - Nonviolent resistance had emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal. In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method. ([View Highlight]( - In a real sense, Montgomery’s Negroes showed themselves willing to grapple with a new approach to the crisis in race relations. It is probably true that most of them did not believe in nonviolence as a philosophy of life, but because of their confidence in their leaders and because nonviolence was presented to them as a simple expression of Christianity in action, ([View Highlight]( - You must be willing to suffer the anger of the opponent, and yet not return anger. You must not become bitter. No matter how emotional your opponents are, you must be calm. ([View Highlight]( - let us be loving enough to turn an enemy into a friend ([View Highlight]( - This constant prayer life and feeling of dependence on God have given me the feeling that I have divine companionship in the struggle. I know no other way to explain it. It is the fact that in the midst of external tension, God can give an inner peace. ([View Highlight]( - As far as the repeated attacks on me and my family, I must say that here again God gives one the strength to adjust to such acts of violence. None of these attacks came as a total surprise to me, because I counted the cost early in the struggle. To believe in nonviolence does not mean that violence will not be inflicted upon you. The believer in nonviolence is the person who will willingly allow himself to be the victim of violence but will never inflict violence upon another. He lives by the conviction that through his suffering and cross bearing, the social situation may be redeemed. ([View Highlight](