What is Kingian Nonviolence?       

Kingian Nonviolence is a philosophy and methodology that provides individuals with the knowledge to resolve problems and conflicts peacefully. Developed by Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr. and David Jehnsen, based on the teachings and practices of     Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the leadership of the Kingian era, Kingian Nonviolence is a framework of philosophical principles and pragmatic strategies to reduce violence and promote positive peace, with the objective of institutionalizing and internationalizing nonviolence. Kingian Nonviolence today is a resource for interpersonal and group conflict, which seeks to renew and make available the organizing strategies that drove the Civil Rights movement.  Connected to that legacy, Kingian Nonviolence sees applications in violence reduction and initiatives to challenge racism, poverty, and militarism at the personal, communal, national, and global level.

4 Pillars of Kingian Nonviolence

1. Why Call it Kingian?

The "Kingian" in Kingian Nonviolence is not about MLK as an icon, but representing an era and an approach.  We are not trying to make an icon out of him. Dr. King characterized what could be called the King Era - a specific historical period of struggle - which provided leadership for all of society. Kingian Nonviolence is rooted in that specific period of Black-led struggle, and it reclaims the radical critique of society and methods that Dr. King articulated.

3. How we approach CONFLICT

The Kingian era offered a transformation in how we as a society and as social change people look at conflict. Conflict becomes a creative tool for democratic nonviolent social change.


As we study KNV, we read King's statements and words (the philosophy). But it's not just "I Have a Dream." Kingian Nonviolence is about a methodology as well - becoming a nonviolence practitioner, leader, organizer.  At the heart of this are the 6 principles (the WILL) and the 6 Steps (the SKILL). 

4. How we approach ORGANIZING

Kingian Nonviolence offers a fundamental shift in the way we look at organizing and mobilizing - different than traditional "we/they" adversarial organizing. Instead of vilifying the enemy/opponents, we seek to organize in such a way that we can win the public to our side and eventually turn adversaries into allies.  


6 Principles of Kingian Nonviolence


Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people

It is a positive force controlling the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation. 


The Beloved Community is the framework for the future

The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential


Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil

The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one's opponents or their personalities


Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve a goal

Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one's own friends and community as well as to the opponent. 


Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence

The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides a mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one's opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign. 


The Universe is on the side of justice 

Truth is universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world's great religions include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. For the nonviolent practitioner, nonviolence introduces a new moral context in which nonviolence is both the means and the end. 

6 Steps of Kingian Nonviolence


Information Gathering

The way you determine the facts, the options for change and the timing of pressure for raising the issue is a collective process



Is the process of developing articulate leaders, who are knowledgeable about the issue


Personal Commitment

Means looking at your internal and external involvement in the nonviolent campaign and preparing yourself for long-term as well as short-term action



Is the art of bringing together your views and those of your opponent to arrive at a just conclusion or clarify the unresolved issues, at which point the conflict is formalized


Direct Action

Occurs when negotiations have broken down or failed to produce a just response to the contested issues and conditions



Is the mandatory closing step of a campaign, when the opponents and proponents celebrate the victory and provide joint leadership to implement the change