Letter from a Birmingham City Jail

“Letter from Birmingham City Jail” is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr. while incarcerated in the Birmingham, Alabama jailhouse. King wrote the letter in response to a statement made by white Alabama clergymen on April 12, 1963, titled “A Call For Unity”. The clergymen agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not in the streets. King insisted that without nonviolent forceful direct actions true civil rights could never be achieved. As he put it, “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.'” He asserted that not only was civil disobedience justified in the face of unjust laws, but that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail

Scroll Up