The Atlantic

The Debt MLK Owed to India's Anti-Colonial Fight

The campaign against Jim Crow was always embedded in a larger global battle against white supremacy.
Source: R. Satakopan / AP

In February of 1949, a group of stevedores gathered under a mango tree in the Brazilian port of Salvador to prepare for carnival celebrations. They needed a theme for their contingent. Searching far and wide, the mostly Afro-Brazilian workers settled on an extravagant international gesture. The Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi had been assassinated almost exactly a year earlier. Gandhi’s struggles against political and economical injustice resonated with men who themselves experienced racial oppression in a deeply unequal society. In his memory and in honor of his commitment to nonviolence, the stevedores named their group Filhos de Gandhi—“Sons of Gandhi.” The stevedores could not have known then that nearly 70 years later, their group would be the biggest and most legendary

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