In the Absence of Violence

In the Absence of Violence

Remembering Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Judge Gerald A. Williams

On January 15, some will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day off work or with a quick ski trip. Others may finally take the Christmas lights off their homes. But it is worth taking the time to remember a man who understood how meaningful change could occur in the absence of violence.

Reverend King became the central figure in the American Civil Rights movement by implementing the principles of his Christian faith and the nonviolent protest techniques pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi. His efforts resulted in Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This federal law prohibits segregation in government buildings and in public accommodations based on race, religion or national origin.        

In a eulogy for four children who were murdered when a bomb exploded in their church, King proclaimed: “They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.  And so my friends, they did not die in vain. God still has a way of wringing good out of evil.”

King, at the age of 35, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the advancement of civil rights. For additional information about his life, his work, his sermons and his speeches, visit the National Park Service’s web page dedicated to him at nps.gov/malu.  

Judge Gerald A. Williams is the Justice of the Peace for the North Valley Justice Court. The court’s jurisdiction includes Anthem and Desert Hills.

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