The Influence of Gandhi on Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Thomas KilgoreJr


Four years before the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lerone Bennett, Jr. wrote What Manner of Man, a clear and perceptive biography of King.1 This book, which highlights in words and pictures the major activities of King’s life, ends with this statement:

It was true, as Carl Sandburg has so eloquently said, that ‘A tree is measured best when it is down,’ but it is also true that standing trees can tell us things that fallen trees cannot. To an almost unprecedented degree, perceptive persons have recognized the worth of a tall, young tree still standing among us … Beyond race, civil rights and religion, King must be seen and confronted finally as a man who bypassed cerebral centers and attacked the archetypal roots of man. His grace, like Gandhi’s, grows out of a complicated relation not to oppression but to ancient scourges of man to pain, to suffering, to death. Men who conquer the fear of these things in themselves acquire extraordinary power over themselves and over others.


Christian Theology Unprecedented Degree Claremont Graduate School Cerebral Center Morehouse College 
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  1. 1.
    Lerone Bennett, Jr., What Manner of Man (Chicago: Johnson, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love (New York: Harper & Row, 1963).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals (New York: Macmillan, 1924).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    John J. Ansbro, Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Making of a Mind (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1982).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1958).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Claremont Graduate School 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas KilgoreJr

There are no affiliations available

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