Washington: Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King travelled to India in 1959 to study Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violent persuasion, so they could apply it to the civil rights struggle back home, according to a top democrat leader.
Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, made the remarks yesterday as the couple was posthumously bestowed with the Congressional Gold Medal, for their efforts in passing the landmark Civil Rights Act.
"In 1959, the Kings travelled to India to study Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violent persuasion, so they could apply it to the civil rights struggle here at home," she said.
"Actually, the Indians and the Kings learnt from each other. It's interesting to note that in Sanskrit, the word for non-violence, Satyagraha - that same word, it means 'non-violence' and it means 'insistence on the truth'," Pelosi said in her remarks at the US Capitol Hill.
"Fifty years later, here we are, the law stands as a pillar of fairness, justice and equality; an enduring testament to the soul force of Dr King, and Coretta Scott King. The Civil Rights Act transformed our country. It made America more American," she said.
"Though they knew it would mean sacrifice and struggle for their family, and for many others across America, and for the Kings - that they would insist on the truth at the heart of our nation: 'that all men and women are created equal'. Dr King was not only non-violent in his actions, but non-violent in his words. That was a source of great strength to him and Coretta, and to the movement," Pelosi added.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "I was here in Washington, D.C., working and attending school when Dr. King delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech. I, along with the rest of America, was deeply moved by his words. A year later, I was at the Las Vegas Convention Center when King spoke there."
"I'll never forget how he urged Americans of all backgrounds to 'learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.' And I'll never forget how King gave his own life for the cause of civil rights," he said.