Martin Luther King Jr. – Letter From a Birmingham Jail

My Dad introduced me to this as a kid. One of the great documents of the Civil Rights Movement. Please give it a read for your MLK Day 🙂

“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

I have an indirect connection to MLK Jr. One of my great uncles was a Congressman who helped raise and funnel money to MLK’s voter registration drives in the Deep South and knew him personally. I just rediscovered this connection last year while reading a book written as a memorial to the life of another one of my great uncles who was a well-known black historian and former high school teacher in my home town. Knowing your history can be uplifting and enlightening. Take today as an opportunity to learn more about black history, American history and your own family’s history.



2 thoughts on “Martin Luther King Jr. – Letter From a Birmingham Jail

  1. Pingback: Martin Luther King Jr. – Letter From a Birmingham Jail « Godsson1's Blog

  2. I had a professor in seminary who wanted MLK’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” included in the canon of Scripture. I wouldn’t go that far, but clearly it contains very inspirational words. Thanks for the tribute. I chose to write today on the racism that was and still is prevalent among some white Midwesterners. It’s called “Was He Only Dreaming?: Hoosier Perspectives on Martin Luther King”. I’d love for you to check it out and tell me what you think.

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