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Agape

Agape, a Greek word for love, was central to Dr. King’s theology and philosophy of nonviolent social change. He spoke of three kinds of love: philia, affection between friends; eros, romantic love; and agape, a universal, all-embracing love for others for their sake. In his 1967 Levels of Love sermon, he described five levels of love: utilitarian, like the love of master for slave; friendship; romantic love; humanitarian love for humanity in general but not individuals in particular; and agape, unconditional love for every person, regardless of race, religious or political beliefs, whether they are just or unjust, or whether they respect or hate and abuse you. He defined agape as Christian love and the “highest good” sought by the great philosophers. King incorporated this concept into the nonviolent movement for civil rights, empowering thousands of people to engage in militant, transformative direct action by accepting suffering without retaliation and returning good for evil.

Associated Archive Content : 21 results

A Christmas Sermon

Dr. King discusses the topics of peace, the state of mankind, and his vision for the future during the delivery of this sermon to the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Annual Address Delivered at the First Annual Institute on Nonviolence and Social Change

Dr. King's speech at the First Annual Institute of Non-Violence and Social Change addresses many issues regarding the African American. The most recurring issues are of obtaining and maintaining freedom, equality and personal dignity.

Facing the Challenge of a New Life

Dr. King uses Greek Philosophy, the Christian conception of agape love, and the need for nonviolent resistance as a guideline of "Facing the Challenge of a New Life" in America. Throughout the sermon, he encourages African Americans to remain committed to the nonviolent principles of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the precepts of Christian living to facilitate the birth of a new way of life in an America dealing with violent conflicts over social conditions.

Friends Journal: A Quaker Weekly

Dr. King's article, "Nonviolence and Racial Justice" is included in this edition of the Friends Journal. Dr. King's entry discusses the various implications of race relations in America and the beneficial elements of nonviolence.

Is Nonviolence Effective

Rev. P. R. Regamey writes a paper that discusses whether or not nonviolence is effective. He uses Gandhi's methods as a basis for the paper. Rev. Regamey also addresses the broader theory and practice of nonviolence.

Letter form Gloria Kenny to MLK

Gloria Kenny praises Dr. King and the SCLC for sending a small group of individuals to the Agape Mass at MaryMount College. She also commends him on his efforts to speak out against the Vietnam War.

Letter from Catherine Aller to MLK

Catherine Aller writes Dr. King regarding his awareness of agape and its "historic appearance on the Day of Pentecost."

Letter from Catherine Aller to MLK

Catherine Aller took the time to write Dr. King and encourage him to keep pursuing his goals in spite of criticism.

Letter from H. D. Bollinger to MLK

H.D. Bollinger requests Dr. King's appearance at the Eighth Quadrennial Conference at the Methodist Student Movement in Nebraska. Mr. Bollinger informs Dr. King that the students are "very anxious" to have him as a principle speaker. The theme of the conference will be "The Church in the World." The church is aware of Dr. King's hectic schedule and ensures him that they will provide an honorarium if he were to accept this speaking engagement.

Letter from MLK to Robert Epstein

Dr. King responds to a letter from Robert Epstein regarding the objective of SCLC. King states, "No man can comment adequately on his own motives... I would hope agape is the driving force in our movement." Dr. King encloses a pamphlet entitled "This is SCLC."

Letter from Rev. Thomas S. Maloney to MLK

Thomas Maloney asks for assistance in preparing his dissertation on Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence for the Gregorian University in Rome. He requests clarification on Dr. King's definition of violence, nonviolence, agape and justice, as well as how the four principles relate.

Levels of Love

Dr. King outlines several levels of love, such as Christian love, utilitarianism love and romantic love.

Loving Your Enemies

In this sermon, Dr. King states that "love is the key to the solution of the problems which we confront in the world today." Dr. King notes that this is not a simple task, but it is necessary.

MLK - Out of the Night of Segregation

This essay by Dr. King is featured in the February 1958 edition of Lutheran Woman's Work. King focuses on nonviolence and segregation while critiquing the sociological impacts of oppression.

New South: The Current Crisis In Race Relations

Dr. King, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, examines the race relations crisis. He discusses how segregation makes the Negro feel inferior and unaccepted. Dr. King also affirms that he will not accept a system of violence and the "evils of segregation."

Out of the Long Night of Segregation

Missions Magazine published various articles concerning the baptist ministry and how the church is impacting its surrounding community. Dr. King contributed to the magazine by writing an article entitled "Out of the Long Night of Segregation." In the article, he writes about the nonviolent methods being used to end segregation in America.

Out of the Long Night of Segregation

In this article, "Out of the Long Night of Segregation", Dr. King discusses the result of Negroes waiting to be treated as equals to no avail. He also presents several actions that should take place to provoke change.

Prayer Pilgrimage

Various quotes are cited surrounding Dr. King's perception on love, nonviolence, spirituality, Montgomery, and more. Dr. King elaborates on the history of Montgomery and its direct relation to slavery. Ebony Magazine releases the exclusive eight-point "Plan for Freedom" for Montgomery, calling Negros to mobilize for an all-out assault on segregation."The Death of Evil' is also cited which correlates such evil with details from the book of Exodus.

The American Dream

This document contains the text of an address that Dr. King gave at Plymouth Church of The Pilgrims in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. King describes the steps that should be taken in order to make the American Dream a reality.

The Christian Way of Life in Human Relations

Dr. King makes a speech to the National Council of Churches regarding the issue of American race relations. After school integration ... has noticed a radical change in the attitudes of African-Americans, ultimately giving birth to this mental and figurative notion of the "new Negro". He solicits the assistance and leadership of the nation's churches to take a firm stand against the rampant inequalities afflicting blacks are facing in America.

The Power of Nonviolence

Dr. King delivers this address to the YMCA and YWCA in the Bay Area of California. The power of nonviolence is discussed being intertwined with the knowledge of agape, love and maladjustment. Agape can be defined as an understanding of the redemptive good will of all men. In relation to maladjustment, Dr. King explains how he never intended to adjust himself to segregation and discrimination. Dr. King expounds on how justice strengthened the Montgomery movement. He further explains how the powerful influence of love is a significant factor in the practice of nonviolence.