Subversive Historian – 04/16/09

“Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Back in the day on April 16th, 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. composed his masterful “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The civil rights leader had been imprisoned following his anti-segregation “Birmingham Campaign,” in Alabama that breached a court injunction disallowing such demonstrations in the city. Because King’s campaign practiced civil disobedience and came after a recent election that displaced the notorious Eugene “Bull” Connor, a group of eight white clergymen wrote a critical statement titled “A Call for Unity.” King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” refuted their claims of the Civil Rights Movement’s supposed extremism in defending its use of direct action, and willingness to break unjust laws.

With an eloquence informed by the spirit of justice, King concluded his response to the white clergymen by writing, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities.”


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