Shifting Paradigms Convicting America’s Heart

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Shifting Paradigms: Convicting America's Heart Montgomery, Alabama; Albany Georgia; The March on Washington; St. Augustine, Florida; And Selma, Alabama, were hard fought battles in the war against racism. People were injured, maimed, and even killed in the battles on social and political battlefields. Nonviolent warriors raged against the machinations of segregation and racism in these and other cities. Some battles were won, some were lost, but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., General in Chief of the armies of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, never lost sight of the basic tenants of Mahatma Gandhi's teachings: to truly win a war against any injustice, including the overt, legalized racism practiced in America at that time, the war must be won in the heart of the oppressor.

Dr. King, an ordained minister, had a deep and abiding Christian faith that led him to believe all men are essentially good. From the template of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and Mahatma Gandhi, Dr.

King taught. He taught that the greatest of all human emotion is love and therefore all actions taken to battle the injustices suffered by Southern Black Americans must be motivated by love. When love becomes the motivation of a direct action campaign, when protestors are pure of intent and free from hostility and hatred, their actions become righteous.

Dr. King had two major obstacles to overcome in this fight; the first was the most difficult. Southern Blacks for the most part felt that segregation was wrong. But many Blacks feared even in the wake of the Federal Supreme Court's Brown decision, given the vast political machine and age-old social order arrayed against them, segregation could not be overcome. The first and most difficult task was not only to make Southern Blacks believe the walls of segregation could be torn down,