Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: Letters from a Birmingham Jail

Each year, we post MLK’s letter to white moderates as it still speaks today.

Today is the day we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday and the cause he championed, racial equality. Over the years, I’ve developed a tradition of posting Letter from Birmingham Jail on the day we celebrate his birthday. I thought it might be worth explaining why I do.

Since many evangelicals were on the wrong side of the race issue decades ago (and on the wrong side of some of the hoses in places like Birmingham), I think it is helpful to read some of the words that came out of that Birmingham jail. The letter was in response to several white religious leaders and an open letter they published, A Call for Unity.

My hope is that it will help evangelicals think more deeply on the issue of race today, asking the Lord to make our blind spots clear and our passion for justice strong.

Wikipedia explains:

The Letter from Birmingham Jail or Letter from Birmingham City Jail, also known as The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader. King wrote the letter from the city jail in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was confined after being arrested for his part in the Birmingham campaign…King’s letter is a response to a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen on April 12, 1963, titled “A Call For Unity”. The clergymen agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not in the streets. King responded that without nonviolent forceful direct actions such as his, true civil rights could never be achieved. As he put it, “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.'” He asserted that not only was civil disobedience justified …

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