With assistance from the Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee, and inspired by Gandhi's success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi's birthplace in India in 1959.:3 Thetrip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America's struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his finalevening in India, King reflected, "Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in theirstruggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principlesare as inescapable as the law of gravitation.":135–6 African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin had studied Gandhi's teachings. Rustin counseled King to dedicate himself to theprinciples of non-violence, served as King's main advisor and mentor throughout his early activism, and was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin's open homosexuality,support of democratic socialism, and his former ties to the Communist Party USA caused many white and African-American leaders to demand King distance himself from Rustin.
Public stance onpolitical parties
As the leader of the SCLC, King maintained a policy of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate: "I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so thathe can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either."
In a 1958 interview, he expressed his view that neither party was perfect, saying,"I don't think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses ... And I'm not inextricably bound to either party."