"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 1963
Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Watch "Eyes on the Prize."
No Easy Walk (1961-1963)The civil rights movement discovers the power of mass demonstrations as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges as its most visible leader. Some demonstrations succeed; others fail. But the triumphant March on Washington, D.C., under King's leadership, shows a mounting national support for civil rights. President John F. Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act.
Assign: "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
In class: Working in groups of three or four, discuss the questions from "Letter from Birmingham Jail" your group was assigned. (10 minutes) Share answers with the large group.
Why did King write this letter?
What reasons did King give for coming to Birmingham?
Why does King use nonviolent direct-action as a means of bringing about change?
Who does King express disappointment in and why?
How does King address the timing of his actions?
How does King define "just" laws?
How does King define "unjust laws"?
Why does King believe it is a mistake for moderates to label his actions "extremist"?
Who does King believe is earning undeserved change? Why is this praise misguided?
Who is really deserving of praise? Why?
R1.9-10.9: Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.