Have We Forgotten Nonviolence?

Recently I came across an interview with Taylor Branch, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, biographer. Published in the January 2015 issue of “Smithsonian” magazine, it discusses Dr. King’s true legacy. Branch makes an important case: “Look at the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the whole Soviet Union, begun with nonviolent demonstrations in a Polish shipyard.” Yet are the lessons of nonviolence being taken seriously enough?

The most poignant example in the article was Freedom Rider Michael Schwerner, who was murdered by Klansmen in the summer of 1964. Just before being shot, Michael told his murderer, “Sir, I know just how you feel.” More than anything else, that’s what everyone remembered about that night.

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