Does this concept behind this editorial cartoon seem familiar?
Martin Luther King, Jr. is known today for his marches and sit-ins. There are some popular images being shared on social media recently that proclaim he brought about change using peaceful methods. Did you know many people in his day didn’t have that view of him? Challenging the status quo seems to always lead to trouble, as this anti-MLK cartoon by Charles Brooks in the 1960’s shows. In fact, a 1966 Gallup poll showed that only 1/3 of the respondents nationally had a positive view of the civil rights leader.
Dr. King was interviewed in an April 1960 episode of Meet the Press. I’ve linked to the transcript below because the entire thing is worth reading (and unfortunately still relevant in parts for today) but wanted to highlight a portion.
[Spivak]: Well now, Dr. King, you speak of your movement as a nonviolent movement, and yet the end product of it has been violence. You’ve also called upon the white people, of the South particularly, to live up to the law as the Supreme Court has interpreted. Don’t you think you would have more standing in your fight if you, yourself, if you called upon your people to live up to the law rather than to break the law and to risk jail in this sit-in?
[King]: Well, I would say two things to that, Mr. Spivak. First, the end result has not been a violent result. I would say that there has been some violence here and there, but the nonviolent resister does not go on with the idea that there will not be any violence inflicted upon him. In other words, he is always willing to be the recipient of violence but never to inflict it upon another. He goes on the idea that he must act now against injustice with moral means, and he feels that in acting against this injustice that he must never inflict injury upon the opponent. But he is always prepared to absorb the violence which emerges, if such violence emerges in the process.