Analysis Of The Letter From Birmingham Jail, By Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Letter from Birmingham Jail, also known as the Letter from Birmingham Jail and The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King Jr. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism. It says that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take direct action rather than waiting potentially forever for justice to come through the courts. Responding to being referred to as an “outsider,” King writes, “Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere”. The letter, written during the 1963 Birmingham campaign, was widely published, and became an important text for the American Civil Rights Movement. However, he then provides a moral reason for his presence, saying that he came to Birmingham to battle…show more content…
First, the SCLC confirmed that Birmingham had been practicing institutionalized racism, and then attempted to negotiate with white business leaders there. When those negotiations broke down because of promises the white men broke, the SCLC planned to protest through “direct action.” Before beginning protests, however, they underwent a period of “self-purification,” to determine whether they were ready to work nonviolently, and suffer indignity and arrest. When they decided they could, they then prepared to protest. King was met with unusually harsh conditions in the Birmingham jail. An ally smuggled in a newspaper from April 12, which contained “A call for Unity” a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen against King and his methods. The letter provoked the King, and he began to write s response on the newspaper itself. King writes in Why We Can’t Wait: “Begun on the margins of the newspaper in which the statement appeared while I was in jail, the letter was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly black trusty, and concluded on a pad my attorneys were eventually permitted to leave
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