Martin Luther King Lecture:
Justice Without Violence


Martin Luther King with Brandeis students, 1957

On April 3, 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Brandeis University as part of the Helmsley Lecture series. The six-part series addressed the topic of race relations and included talks by Bruno Bettelheim and E. Franklin Frazier.

At the time of this Brandeis visit, Dr. King was the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that led the Montgomery bus boycott (1955-56). Earlier that year, he had been elected President of the newly-founded Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A recent Gallup Poll indicated that he was already – at the age of 28 – among the most admired religious leaders in the world.

King’s talk was entitled “Justice without Violence” and addressed the segregation crisis in the South and his theory and practice of non-violent resistance. Following an introduction by Brandeis Sociology Professor, Jerome Himelhoch, King spoke for 45 minutes, then opened the floor for questions. His presentation was followed by an informal reception attended by Brandeis community members and supporters.

Rev. King had spoken previously on November 12, 1956 at the Ford Hall Forum. He returned to Brandeis University on February 25, 1963, which was shortly before the historic March on Washington.

To hear clips from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1957 speech, click on the following links:

Introduction by Prof. Jerome Himelhoch (00:49 - 07:11)

Introduction by Martin Luther King, Jr. (07:12 - 08:25)

Crisis in Race Relations (08:26 - 12:31)

Roots of Resistance (12:32 - 21:37)

Futility of Violence (21:38 - 25:46)

Non-Violence as Active Resistance (25:47 - 28:26)

Non-Violence Seeks Redemption (28:27 - 30:10)

Non-Violence Attacks Evil Systems (30:11 - 32:44)

Justice Through Love (32:45 - 39:50)

The Universe Aligns with Justice (39:51 - 43:11)

Conclusion by Martin Luther King, Jr. (43:12 - 44:37)