On April 3rd of 1968, Dr. King was in Memphis, TN where he gave the renowned “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech to a packed audience. After returning to his room at the Lorraine Motel, he was discussing strategies for the Poor People’s Campaign with Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr., who was the National Coordinator for the campaign.
As Dr. LaFayette was leaving the room to fly out to a press conference in Washington DC, Dr. King called out and said that the next movement that they need to organize is one to “institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence.”
Dr. King and Dr. Lafayette were never able to finish that conversation, as Dr. King would be assassinated outside of the door of that very motel just hours later.
Dr. Lafayette took those words, to “institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence,” as Dr. King’s final marching orders. Working with David Jehnsen, another activists from the movement, they created the Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training curriculum as a way to institutionalize the teachings of Dr. King and the organizing strategy of the Civil Rights movement.
Since writing this curriculum, Dr. Lafayette, David Jehnsen and their allies have taken this training all over the world. The philosophy has found a home in schools, prisons, police departments, governments, and community groups throughout the United States and in Colombia, Israel, Nigeria, India, Nepal and many other countries.
Read more about the history of Kingian Nonviolence in this article published in Waging Nonviolence.
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Who Is It For?
This training and philosophy is useful for anyone who deals with conflict on any level. It will help you to respond in creative ways to conflicts in your personal life (family, friends, partners, co-workers), conflicts in your community (school closures, violence in your community), or larger social conflicts (racism, corporate greed). Whether the conflicts you want to transform are personal or global, conflict plays by the same rules.
This training has helped teachers and students, police officers and formerly incarcerated people, regular ol’ folk and activists alike. In 2011, the annual summer institute held at the University of Rhode Island had participants from close to 30 countries, from all walks of life, all races, all age groups. Anyone and everyone will walk away with new skills.