On this date, June 7, in 1893 Mahatma Gandhi, born in India, educated and trained as a barrister in England, began in South Africa a life of non-violent resistance that changed the world.
In South Africa, Gandhi faced the discrimination directed at Indians. He was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move from the first class to a third-class coach while holding a valid first-class ticket. Traveling farther on by stagecoach he was beaten by a driver for refusing to travel on the foot board to make room for a European passenger. He suffered other hardships on the journey as well, including being barred from several hotels. In another incident, the magistrate of a Durban court ordered Gandhi to remove his turban - which he refused to do. These events were a turning point in his life, awakening him to social injustice and influencing his subsequent social activism. It was through witnessing firsthand the racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in South Africa that Gandhi started to question his people's status within the British Empire, and his own place in society.
Gandhi influenced many civil rights leaders in the past century, including Martin Luther King, and his words and teachings are still relevant today.
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