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Free Audio Lecture: Stride Toward Freedom

Taught by Professor Dennis Dalton, Gallagher Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, Columbia University

Lecture: Stride Toward Freedom
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The name Martin Luther King, Jr., conjures up a wealth of images, words, and emotions about the American civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955; the "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963; the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968—none of these important moments in recent American history would have been possible without the words, voice, and courage of this Baptist minister from Alabama.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s passion for nonviolent protest and freedom for all individuals—so essential to the success of the civil rights movement—resound throughout his speeches and writings. Drawing from the teachings of important religious and philosophical figures including Jesus, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, King saw freedom as a liberating truth that unifies us, regardless of our own individual background. The best way to achieve this freedom is through passive resistance, a theory rooted in the life and actions of Gandhi, whom King studied.

In Martin Luther King, Jr.: Stride Toward Freedom, you examine

  • the three specific senses of freedom used in his speeches and writings;
  • how he was inspired by Gandhi's use of nonviolence in the face of oppression; and
  • how the Montgomery Bus Boycott reflects the success of nonviolent protest.