Many people and organizations involved in the African-American freedom struggle, including Martin Luther King, Jr., were influenced by the concept of nonviolence. This ideology was advocated and practiced by Mohandas K. Gandhi, one of the leaders of the Indian struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
In Part One of this unit, students will explore Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy and practice of ‘satyagraha’ (‘truth-force’ or ‘love-force’), the application of nonviolence to fight injustice.
In Part Two, students will compare Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideas of nonviolence with those of Gandhi, who greatly influenced King. Students will also learn of the different people and organizations that shaped King’s conception of nonviolence and introduced the nonviolent direct action tactics used in the African-American freedom struggle.
In Part Three, students will explore what it means to carry on Gandhi’s legacy of nonviolence in today’s world. Students will identify people and organizations that embody nonviolent philosophy and developing tactics of nonviolent direct action they can use to combat injustice in the world.
Note: In this unit, we have chosen to use ‘nonviolent direct action’ to describe the use of nonviolent tactics to fight injustice because of the active nature of the term ‘direct action.’ Students may come across different terms in readings and other resources for the use of nonviolence to fight injustice.
CA State Standards: 10.4, 11:1
How did nonviolent philosophy and practice influence the Indian and African American freedom struggles?