On MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, on Good Friday, April 12, 1963, and while he was in jail, he saw in the newspaper a statement from eight "moderate" clergymen who branded the civil rights protests extremist and "untimely." King drafted a furious rebuttal that became known as the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"—a work that would become a masterpieces of American moral argument and would inspire not just the marchers of Birmingham and Selma, but peaceful insurgents from Tiananmen to Tahrir Squares. Jonathan Rieder discusses the Letter, looking at its timeless message and its crucial position in the history of civil rights. His book Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation gives us a new perspective on the Letter and the man who wrote it.