Dr. Keith Huxen
October 5, 2009
Letter From Birmingham Jail Analysis
“Letter from Birmingham Jail: April 16, 1963” was written by Dr. Martin Luther King in response to published statements denouncing his non-violent protest in Birmingham, Alabama. The article, composed on scraps of paper, in the margins of the newspaper and finally on writing pads (King, 1963) by Dr. King as he was incarcerated in Birmingham City Jail for participating in a series of non-violent protests, known as the Birmingham Campaign. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is considered“the most important written document of the modern civil rights movement and a classic text on civil disobedience”, primarily due to King’s impassioned defense of his confrontational tactics. (Bass, 2001 ) Initiated because of the response to the reluctance of the city to end segregation, the Birmingham Campaign, established Birmingham as the hotbed of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. Considered a strategic movement to expose the inequality that Birmingham’s African-American citizens existed under began during the spring of 1963. Clashes between African-American teenagers and white Birmingham law enforcement officials became a mainstay in the national and international media. As one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States, African-American citizens of Birmingham endured legal and economic disparities and legalized violence as they attempted to gain support for desegregation in the city. Between 1945 and 1962 there were fifty unsolved racially motivated bombings in the city. More specifically, African-American churches that were visible in the civil rights movement became targets for violent attacks, such as bombings.
In 1960, the population of Birmingham’s 350,000 citizens was 65 percent white and 35 percent black. (Census, 1990). In Birmingham, public and commercial facilities were required by law to be racially segregated. Of the 35...
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