Martin Luther King Jr. Is a champion of peaceful protest. In his mind, non-violent civil disobedience is the only meaningful way of bringing change. I belief that as well. Because honestly, who are you more inclined to listen to? A group of people who are obviously suffering injustice and respectfully bringing attention to the issue or the group of people throwing trash cans at opposing parties and rioting?
What made Martin Luther King's philosophy even more effective is that he actually had a plan behind it. King believed that there are four steps to a successful protest. To quote King they are as follows: "collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action". Initially, you are supposed to look at the facts and identify whether or not there is an actual problem. The second step is to get to the negotiation table with the people who have the ability to mend the situation. The third and fourth steps are only done if people refuse to go to the negotiation table. The third step, which is self-purification, is to prepare oneself to suffer injustice without retaliating. The fourth and final step is to pursue direct action. That can mean a peaceful march, a boycott, or any other form of civil disobedience.
What makes the non-violence philosophy so effective is that it allows protestors to gain the sympathy of the public. This is due to protesters not retaliating violently against the injustices done to them. With the right journalism covering the immoral incidents, the general public will be very inclined to feel empathy towards the people suffering injustice.
Additionally, peaceful protestors with a respectful, thoughtful message are able to gain the ears of people who would otherwise not listen. Going back to an earlier point, no one wants to be associated with violent criminals. Furthermore, it is impossible to gain public sympathy while vandalizing buildings and vehicles. It just does not work. Any violent action done by your party or group only diminishes your goals. It also alienates any potential of advancing those said goals.
To summarize everything in a nutshell, violence does to work. Any real, meaningful change comes with a peaceful movement. That is why Martin Luther King's movement was so successful. His actions and words attained the ears of people who had otherwise ignored the issue. In the end, his actions were a catalyst for the advancement of civil rights we currently enjoy. There are so many things today that would be impossible to enjoy for people of color if it were not for his movement.