King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence



Educators interested in teaching the power of nonviolence have some excellent resources. One of the best is The King Center established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King. There you can browse a digital archive of King’s writings and read his principles of Nonviolence.

If you are looking for additional lessons for your classrooms check out the lesson plans at Readwritethink, Stanford University, Edsitement, and The National Archives.

Below you will find Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence.  I believe they should be required reading in every school.

Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:

  • Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
    It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
    It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  • Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
    The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
    The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.
  • Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
    Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people.
    The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
  • Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
    Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
    Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
  • Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
    Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.
    Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
  • Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
    The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.
    Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

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