Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963

After being jailed on 12 April 1963 in Birmingham, King read a newspaper column signed by eight local clergymen calling the direct action “unwise and untimely.” King’s response called into question the clergy’s charge of “impatience” on the part of the African American community and of the “extreme” level of the campaign’s actions and instead called for the clergy to throw their support behind the movement. The letter would eventually be published in Why We Can’t Wait (1964), King’s account of the Birmingham Campaign.

More resources:

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” King Oline Encyclopedia entry
Transcript of the letter

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