The racial crisis in Birmingham, Alabama, was a critical turning point in the struggle for African American civil rights.
Background[ edit ] The Birmingham campaign began on April 3,with coordinated marches and sit-ins against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. On April 10, Circuit Judge W.
Jenkins issued a blanket injunction against "parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing and picketing. King writes in Why We Can't Wait: As a minister, King responded to these criticisms on religious grounds.
As an activist challenging an entrenched social system, he argued on legal, political, and historical grounds. As an African American, he spoke of the country's oppression of black people, including himself.
As an orator, he used many persuasive techniques to reach the hearts and minds of his audience. Altogether, King's letter was a powerful defense of the motivations, tactics, and goals of the Birmingham campaign and the Civil Rights Movement more generally.
King began the letter by responding to the criticism that he and his fellow activists were "outsiders" causing trouble in the streets of Birmingham.
To this, King referred to his responsibility as the leader of the SCLC, which had numerous affiliated organizations throughout the South.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
To this, King confirmed that he and his fellow demonstrators were indeed using nonviolent direct action in order to create "constructive" tension. Citing previous failed negotiations, King wrote that the black community was left with "no alternative. In response, King said that recent decisions by the SCLC to delay its efforts for tactical reasons showed they were behaving responsibly.
He also referred to the broader scope of history, when "'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never. For example, "A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law.
Alabama has used "all sorts of devious methods" to deny its black citizens their right to vote and thus preserve its unjust laws and broader system of white supremacy. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.
King addressed the accusation that the Civil Rights Movement was "extreme", first disputing the label but then accepting it.
Compared to other movements at the time, King finds himself as a moderate. However, in his devotion to his cause, King refers to himself as an extremist.
Jesus and other great reformers were extremists: Will we be extremists for hate or for love?
Eisenhower 's claim that he could not meet with civil rights leaders because doing so would require him to meet with the Ku Klux Klan.
Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. Recent public displays of nonviolence by the police were in stark contrast to their typical treatment of black people, and, as public relations, helped "to preserve the evil system of segregation.
One day the South will recognize its real heroes. Retrieved October 12, Was Connor's aim, as some thought, to break him?Letter from a Birmingham Jail and The Declaration of Individualism - Letter from a Birmingham Jail and The Declaration of Individualism Although the time periods and goals may be different the method for bringing about change is usually the same, this method is protest.
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