Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TheRoot.com: "Letter From Birmingham Jail" was released on April 16, 1963. Fifty years later, it still resonates.

Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested in Birmingham, 
Ala., on April 12, 1963 (Library of Congress)

10 Powerful Passages From MLK's 'Letter'

Martin Luther King Jr. made a conscious decision to get arrested in Birmingham, Ala., on April 12, 1963. After lawmakers issued an injunction against protests in an attempt to quell King's campaign against segregation, King and his fellow civil rights activists continued to challenge the status quo, knowing that they would end up in jail.

Placed in solitary confinement away from his colleagues and followers, King would end up penning a nearly 7,000-word open letter to white clergy who had joined together to criticize his campaign. The missive, now known as "Letter From Birmingham Jail," was released to the public 50 years ago on April 16, 1963. A half a century later, the powerfully written letter serves as a reminder of how far we've come as a nation and how much further we still need to go -- both at home and abroad. Here are 10 of the most moving passages.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 

"I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

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