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Chris Doleman on Non-Violent Vision of MLK

Posted Feb 17, 2016

In honor of today’s 149th anniversary of the founding of Morehouse College, the Vikings “Celebrate Perseverance” Black History Month series is taking a brief moment to reflect on the vision of one of its most famous graduates, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King earned two degrees from the school that was started in 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, as the Augusta Institute in Augusta, Georgia. The school moved to Atlanta in 1879 and was renamed Atlanta Baptist Seminary. The name changed again to Atlanta Baptist College in 1897 before becoming Morehouse College in 1913.

King maintained his commitment to nonviolence during turbulent and dangerous times, even when others resorted to violence against King and other brave people working for equal rights.

Ultimately, King’s leadership and commitment led to legislative accomplishments that advanced equal rights.

Vikings Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, who now lives in King’s hometown of Atlanta, told Vikings.com his appreciation for King’s vision has grown over time. Doleman was a toddler when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, but he was old enough to remember the pain caused by King’s tragic assassination in 1968.

“He was able to move people in a way that you couldn’t have moved them through violence,” Doleman said last year during a visit to Winter Park. “In order for you to change someone’s heart, you can’t impose your will on them. It has to be through a non-violent way, and through that, people realized this could be a much better America, and it has shown to be better.”