KingReadingNotes - Martin Luther King Jr Letter from...

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Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ This letter is a response to several white clergy who had called King’s actions ‘untimely’. This is especially important because a common refrain toward the black community was ‘Patience’ and ‘Wait’ for justice and equality. He is in Birmingham serving as president of the SCLC – it is critical that King’s resistance is based on a religious institution, which we will discuss in section. Critical: “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here…I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Notes that the ministers deplore the demonstrations – not the horrific historical and contemporary context that engendered them: “It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.” THE FOUR BASIC STEPS OF A NONVIOLENT CAMPAIGN: 1) collection of facts to determine whether there is an injustice, 2) negotiation, 3) self-purification, 4) direct action. The goal is to force the other party, through direct action, to get concerned enough to enter negotiations actually willing to compromise (King notes that the city fathers of Birmingham have consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiations). As King states: “You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action.
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course 790 376 taught by Professor Murphy during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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KingReadingNotes - Martin Luther King Jr Letter from...

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