On this day in Alabama history: ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ publicized

On this day in Alabama history: ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ publicized
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference, 1964. (World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin, Wikimedia)

May 19, 1963

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the most important written document of the civil rights era, appeared in the national press. Arrested on April 12 for violating a court injunction, King wrote the letter in response to a statement by eight white ministers who questioned his use of direct nonviolent resistance as a means of pursuing social justice. In the 21-page letter, King justified his use of civil disobedience and direct action in Birmingham and admonished white moderates for not risking their own reputation to better support the movement. The press published the letter widely and it now appears in hundreds of anthologies throughout the world.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

 

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