Martin Luther King’s Ten Commandments for Non-Violence

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The civil rights movement of the 1960s was characterized by peaceful resistance among black protesters and their allies against Jim Crow laws and restrictions against voting. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been influenced not only by his readings of the work of German theologian Reinhold Niebuhr but also Mahatma M. Gandhi, required his adherents to take the following pledge against violence:

  1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.