Martin Luther King, Jr.'s influence on ethics was both practical and ideological. King's dream was that people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." There may still be a long way to go before King's dream is fully achieved, but he was highly successful in bringing about reforms during the Civil Rights Movement.
Not only did King want to bring about an end to segregation in America; he also wanted to do it without violence. He was influenced by Gandhi, an earlier believer in non-violent protest in India. King's ethical message was clear. He declared it wrong to judge or discriminate against people on the basis of race and, implicitly, on the basis of anything external. He also stressed that the way of achieving change that is both right and effective is to protest without acting out violently. Since King was a clergyman and a very religious person, it is likely that this idea of non-violence may have come not only from his knowledge of Gandhi but also from the teachings of his religion, Christianity.
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