Martin Luther King, Jr.: Effective Nonviolence & the Multiple Intelligences

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Effective Nonviolence & the Multiple Intelligences

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Martin Luther King, Jr.: Effective Nonviolence & the Multiple Intelligences


"Nonviolence can touch men where the law cannot reach them." These words, uttered by the late civil right's leader himself, were the fundamental tenet of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. These words, though few in number, are great in power. These words, simple, plain, and concise, provide a rubric with which to investigate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s creative genius and intelligence.

Howard Gardner, eminent contemporary psychological theorist promoting the concept of multiple intelligences, investigates the lives of seven geniuses of the modern era in his book Creating Minds (1993). While Martin Luther King, Jr., falls more or less at the tail end of the modern era, investigating his creative genius is nonetheless instructive. Of the seven intelligences, King remarkably embodied the interpersonal and verbal/linguistic intelligences, showed indications of high interpersonal intelligence, showed aptitude in the musical/rhythmic, visual/spatial, and body/kinesthetic intelligences, and seemed to lack proficiency in the logical/mathematical intelligence.

Growing Up in Montgomery, Alabama

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the middle child of three with an older sister Christine and a younger brother A.D. Martin's father was a reverend and his mother mostly stayed at home. King was an intense family man, revered his father, respected his mother, and had a special companion relationship with his brother.

A mentor of King's once said in reference to his young prodigy that "Gandhi's are not born, they invent themselves." As a child, certain characteristics were evident regarding the creative genius of Martin Luther King, Jr. Signs of strengt...

... middle of paper ...

...t and plight of an oppressed African culture in a Eurocentric America. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., unabashedly and incessantly wielded his most prolific and natural Gardnerian power, the power of interpersonal intelligence - to preach and practice his espoused Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence. In the process, King gave up a quiet private life, security for himself and his family, and ultimately his life.

Works Used

Calloway-Thomas, Carolyn, and Lucaites, John Louis. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1993.

Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds. BasicBooks, New York, 1993.

Lewis, David Levering. King: A Biography. University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1978.

Schulke, Flip. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Documentary...Montgomery to Memphis. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., Toronto, 1976.

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