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

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

Introduction

"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
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Certainly King enjoyed his innate interpersonal talent and habitually worked on his verbal and kinesthetic abilities. Critically, he took advantage of his blessed disposition in an unique time in American history, a time that demanded just such a person with just such skills.

Early on in childhood, Michael King (later he changed his name to Martin Luther) demonstrated extraordinary verbal and interpersonal skills and was keenly aware of what others were thinking of him. For example, he surrounded himself with books not only to read them, but also to show them to others so that they would admire him for his apparent prodigious facility and understanding in countless subjects. Later in adolescence, he spent an extraordinary amount of his paper route paycheck on nice clothes; he wanted others to take him and his words seriously. King stood out from his peers proudly and often.

Interestingly, King was extremely moody and emotional when he was a child, and reflected the spirit of his environment well. While he eschewed any adversarial confrontations, King occasionally would indicate his kinesthetic abilities and settle differences by "taking it to the grass," i.e., wrestle. Throughout adolescence and into college, the young wrestler offered brilliant physical coordination "on the mats" and often won his formal and informal matches.

King's abhorrence of violence and adversarial situations almost reached pathological proportions. When his brother A.D.

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