[MUSIC] I'm glad to be here today to have a conversation with Dr. Bernard Lafayette about non violent principles and strategies. I'm Pellom McDaniels the curator of African American Collections and the Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library here at Emory University. Dr. Lafayette the first question I would like to ask you is looking at Dr. King's early years. Can you set the stage by telling us how Dr. King came to be the leader of the Civil Rights Movement? >> Martin Luther King is a very special presence in our history. And that's why I'm glad to be here with you, and have the opportunity to respond to some of the questions related to Martin Luther King. When he went to Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he had the opportunity to go to Philadelphia, which is nearby. And he heard Mordecai Johnson, who was president of Howard University at that time give a talk because Mordecai Johnson had just returned from India, had been studying about Gandhi. Martin Luther King got really excited and began to read books on Mahatma Gandhi. I think he went out and got about five books on Gandhi and read them very rapidly, because it really resonated with his whole concept of social change and his, really, just orientation. And one of the things that I found this was really tremendous is that as a result of studying Hindu, because you can't escape that if you're gonna understand Mahatma Gandhi, the Gira, he came to appreciate the importance of inclusiveness. When it came to religious values of people of different cultures. And that is so key in terms of a non-vowed orientation. In fact, differences became very important to Martin Luther King. We used to travel with him. And he'd read about five newspapers a day because we'd travel through news counters and stuff in the airport and stuff like that. But he always read the different papers. Like some papers were more conservative than others. I grew up in Tampa, Florida. And we had the Tampa Daily Times and the Tampa Tribune was, the Tribune was the paper that was a little more conservative. Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune, okay? But he did not ignore the Tribune. He was just as much concerned about the thoughts and ideas and opinions of others that were different from him. In fact, when he studied and he began to appreciate Hegel, who said if you wanna find truth, you've got to understand both sides. If you only understand one side then you can't fully appreciate either, and that's where we get the thesis and anthesis. Even in an academic community, if we want to make sure that a person understands the thesis that person has to show some appreciation for the anthesis. He can't know one country without at least knowing two. So it's by comparison and similarity, dissimilarities between thoughts and ideas that you arrive at the truth. And Hegel believed that you found truth in the synthesis of both and Martin Luther King embraced that as well. He wanted this concept in a very in depth way in terms of blending his own personal and cultural theology with the understanding of others, and that's where his emphasis was. So therefore, he felt that if we were going to bring about change, we had to have people with the difference understanding each other, okay? And what you were searching for would be the synthesis. What is it that we have in common? We understand the differences. But even in those differences, we can find some- >> Commonalities? >> Commonality. And some things that we can appreciate. >> So let's talk about Gandhi then. Because one of the principles that we'll discuss later on has to do with this idea of the synthesis. And King was interested in how Gandhi in his own country was pushing for this civil and human rights for the Indian people. What kinds of behaviors that he modeled that King will become attracted to? >> Well one of the things is that Gandhi also appreciated the agriculture and people who were different from the common sort of Indians. So he showed that he wanted not only for Britain to respect the Indians, but he wanted to show Indians respect for others that all people should have respect as human beings. I had a chance to go and visit the place where Mahatma Ghandi had his last days there in New Delhi. And what did he have on his table? It was sparse area, room, not much in it. But on a side table next to the bed there was a New Testament and the Gita. So he not only believed it but he continued to read and study and find ways of bringing that together, and Martin Luther King picked up on that. >> Embracing the different culture's differences. >> Yes. >> In order to understand. >> Mm-hm. >> So staying on Gandhi, in the book, in the article rather, My Trip to the Land of Gandhi, published in Ebony in July of 1959. King says that, and I quote, he left India more convinced than ever before that non-violent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people. So how did King's visit to India confirm his conviction about nonviolence and the power of love and suffering in the face of terror and violence? >> As a result of Ghandi's approach to the colonialism that was experienced by India, and that is that he was able to win the British over. Rather than win over the British, militarily, he sought to win the British over to accept the independence of India. So it was a much more powerful approach, and he did not use weapons to destroy and to kill people. But rather, he won the heart of people. It made it very difficult for the British people to continue to strike at, and using violence at the Indians when their response was a response of love, and the acceptance of suffering in order to accomplish what they were trying to achieve. >> So he appealed to their humanity? >> Yes in fact, the Indian people say that Ghandi embarrassed them because their acts of violence did not, was not reciprocated by the Indians.