Texas Tech University

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week 2024

Banner for Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.
Unity Gathering
Understanding the shiftng perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement
Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024
Student Union Building
10 a.m. | Red Raider Lounge
10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Matador Room


Welcome to the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reflection Route! This is the 6th year we have hosted the reflection route to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year's route focuses on the Civil Rights Movement and understanding Dr. King's Central Influences. We will also provide details for the Study and Practice of Kingian Nonviolence!

There are five stops during the reflection route, and you are currently at the Welcome! Please take a few minutes to watch the video below. Once complete please proceed to Stop #1.


Even after the abolition of slavery, racial discrimination entrenched itself through Jim Crow laws, sanctioning segregation and punishing those who opposed it with arrests, fines, and violent reprisals. The Ku Klux Klan epitomized this terror, instigating fear and violence within Black communities. This period saw an exacerbation of racial tensions, with systemic oppression persisting well into the mid-20th century.

However, amidst this bleak landscape, the 1940s marked the nascent stages of the civil rights movement. Momentum began to build with key milestones like Executive Order 9981 and the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education case. These pivotal moments served as a catalyst for change, signaling a shift towards a more equitable society. Yet, the path toward progress was fraught with hardships and resistance, highlighting the long and arduous journey toward achieving justice and equality for marginalized communities in the United States.

Collage of old photographs of the Executive Order 9981

Executive Order 9981

Executive Order 9981 was an order President Truman issued in 1948 with the intent to end racial segregation in the military.

Image with information about the court case Brown vs. Board of Education

Brown vs. Board of Education

  • Issue: 14th Amendment – Equal protection (Separate but Equal)
  • Court Case: Brown sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas because his daughter had to walk seven blocks to catch a bus to a segregated school when there was a school within six blocks of her house. This was part of a class action suit against the Board of Education.
  • Court Ruling: Schools were desegregated. Separate is unequal. Separate but Equal has no place. Overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson.
  • Presedent: Separate but Equal is unconstitutional. This led to the beginning of Civil Rights.


One of King's Central Influences: Mahatma Gandhi

Martin Luther King Jr. standing in front of framed picture of Mahatma Gandhi

While Gandhi and King never met, King learned about Gandhi through a trip to India in 1959 as well as Gandhi's writings. King described Gandhi and his beliefs on nonviolence as a “guiding light” for him.

Watch the video below for Reverend Martin Luther King Jr's comments regarding Mahatma Gandhi and how his beliefs have inspired his own views of nonviolence.

Mahatma Gandhi was an activist in India. He helped lead India's independence movement in the early 1900s. Gandhi referred to his form of nonviolence as satyagraha. This means "truth-force" or "love-force." Practicing satyagraha means a person should seek truth and love. They should refuse to do anything they believe is wrong. This idea guided Gandhi's activism against the British Empire, helping India win its freedom in 1947.

How Can You Apply the Teachings of Gandhi Today?

The teachings and beliefs of Gandhi are still relevant in today's world. At a time when there is so much division and opposing viewpoints, it is important to remember that one can advocate for change without resorting to violence. While we have come a long way towards a more just nation, there is still a long way for us to go. Think about what you have learned from this stop as you reflect on how you can help contribute towards advocating for change.


Kingian Nonviolence

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Kingian Nonviolence is a philosophy based on the practices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement. and other Civil Rights activists. These philosophies are a holistic approach to handling conflict through the study and analysis of conflict (i.e. how to understand conflict), the principles of nonviolence (how to transform conflict), and the steps of nonviolence (how to engage with conflict).

Conflict is universal and the teaching of Kingian Nonviolence can be used on a global level (between the rich and the poor), community level (street violence), social level (co-workers), interpersonal level (family), or personal level (internal).

What are the Principles of Nonviolence?

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to a large crowd of people
  1. Nonviolence is not simply being not violent, it is about committing to standing up against injustice and violence.
  2. Nonviolence is about refusing to hate and cause harm to your opponent.
  3. Nonviolence is about having an unwavering faith in humanity.
  4. Nonviolence challenges the idea that violence is the only way to make change.
  5. Nonviolence changes people and systems.
  6. Nonviolence is a commitment to be the change you want to see.
  7. Love is at the core of nonviolence as it is more powerful than hate.
  8. Nonviolence is the antidote to violence.


Triple Evils of Society

These are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle that are all-inclusive and are the foundational barriers to living in a beloved community. The three evils are defined from The King Center and are as follows:

  • Poverty – unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, infant mortality, slums.
  • Racism – prejudice, apartheid, ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes.
  • Militarism – war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, media violence, drugs, child abuse, violent crime.

Listen to the speech of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in the video below regarding the triple evils of society and how we can move forward as a collective society by addressing the issues and finding solutions instead of putting down our neighbors.

Six Steps of Social Nonviolence

The King Center defines the six steps of nonviolent social change as follows:

  1. Information Gathering
  2. To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent's position.

  3. Education
  4. It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.

  5. Personal Commitment
  6. Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.

  7. Negotiation
  8. Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.

  9. Direct Action
  10. These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.

  11. Reconciliation
  12. Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community.'


Take the Pledge!

BeLove graphic

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his later life to instilling equality in humanity to create a world where all people demonstrate a commitment to serving their fellow man. You can visit The King Center and fill out the form to take the pledge.

And I have made my decision.

Starting today, I make a personal choice to BE LOVE.

I pledge to allow love to drive my thoughts, words, decisions, and actions, and honor the humanity of every individual.

I pledge to speak the truth to power in love. I pledge to focus on defeating injustice and not destroying the person.

I pledge to support leaders who demonstrate a love for humanity. I pledge to promote unity and refuse to perpetuate or magnify division.

I pledge to demonstrate a life of courage, care, and compassion as I boldly confront anything that stands in opposition to love.

Graphic for the Martin Luther King Jr Celebration Week
It Starts With Me: Shifting The Perspective
Jan. 13 to 22, 2024

Be sure to check out the week-long Texas Tech University celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. You can find more information at Campus Access & Engagement.