Imagining a World without Guns: Lessons in Nonviolent Peacemaking from the American Civil Rights Story

Posted on May 7, 2015 by PLT Staff

Fairchild Lecture given by Charles Marsh at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Marsh uses his experience living in Laurel, Mississippi, during the late 1960s to reflect upon present day American gun culture and its juxtaposition with Martin Luther King’s nonviolent civil rights movement. King’s pursuit of beloved community, lived out under his leadership during the movement, is a goal Marsh encourages us to continue pursuing as we move into the future. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “’I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house,’ [Martin Luther King] said. The gun was not only a symbol, but an incubator of fear, and its removal cleared for him a wider, freer space for God’ guidance and accompaniment. Removing the gun did not remove King’s fears or his uncertainties about the future, but it gave him a greater sense of freedom, forced him to reckon soberly with death and ‘to deal with it.'”

This document is published by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT). For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported.