I think it was really interesting to see how Carson humanized King in a way that made him heroic without placing him above anyone else. The idea at the end that King just wanted to “love and serve humanity” was extremely grounding and gave perspective to King’s work. While he was a charismatic leader who preached his beliefs through his oratory, he risked support and popularity in order to advocate for non-violence. His ideas of non-violence could get in the way of having a large following especially from the black community. This makes it evident that he was one of the few leaders that actually cares about the issues and their agenda for the common good than remaining in a position of authority with a large following. On the topic of non-violence Carson raises an interesting point that the actions King advocated for are “respectable in the eyes of the white majority.” Although King’s main goal was equality and civil rights for black people, he realized that in order to do this he had to appeal to the majority. Thinking about civil rights, it’s clear that there needs to be cooperation and team work from both sides or both blacks and whites in order to make progress. Thus, King focused on civil communication between different groups and leaders to advocate his non-violent agenda.
However, on-violence doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is peaceful and abiding by the law. King was applauded for breaking the rules and “[challenging] authority” and this idea of “creative maladjusted nonconformity” which refers to sort of breaking the status quo and embracing differences. This reminds me of King’s civil disobedience in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which he was arrested for protesting peacefully. In this letter King justifies his actions and makes a distinction between written law and natural law. He argues that natural law is above written law and therefore one can break written law if it is for a morally just reason. I think that this relates to his idea of nonconformity because he thinks it’s okay to stray from the norm or laws if it’s advocating for a moral purpose or mission. In this way, I think that he appealed to several other proponents of the civil rights movement because although he was non-violent, he was willing to break the law and go the extra mile to achieve his goals. This is another reason in which he was more than just a charismatic leader. He used his religion and belief in a higher power to justify his actions.