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‘To India I come as a pilgrim’: Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarkable trip to honor his hero

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tags: India, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi



After six full days of travel, Martin Luther King Jr. had finally arrived. He was met with wreaths of flowers and driven to a luxury hotel near the India Gate. He undoubtedly had jet lag, but before he could sleep it off, a news conference was set up in the lobby.

“To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim,” he told the two dozen reporters gathered there on Feb. 10, 1959.

They peppered him with questions. Was it true interracial marriage was illegal in the American South? Could nonviolent protest work in colonized Africa? Was he a vegetarian?

The Montgomery bus boycott three years earlier had been closely watched in Indian newspapers, particularly since King, as the young leader of the boycott, espoused the teachings of Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi. Now, he would be spending a month in India to learn more and pay homage to his hero.

King first learned about Gandhi as a seminary student in 1949, just a year after Gandhi had been assassinated. He soon wrote about Gandhi in his schoolwork as a person who “greatly reveal[s] the working of the Spirit of God.”

Read entire article at Washington Post

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