Martin Luther King Jr. had a very strict approach to civil disobedience. His four main steps to civil disobedience are: determining an unjust law exists, negotiating, self-purification and direct action. Each one of these steps progresses to the next without the use of violence, external and internal. In both “Letter to Birmingham Jail” and “The Power of Non-Violence”, Martin Luther King Jr. expresses each of the four steps to civil disobedience.
Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s first step to civil disobedience was determining that an unjust law existed. “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law… An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” Dr. King made a clear distinction between the two as to not get others confused.