Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of his most influential writings. The focus on natural law, principles and love may seem out of place for a civil rights leader but they were actually the core of his message. The breadth and depth of his education makes this letter enriching, enlightening and infinitely re-readable. This letter demonstrates not only his keen sense of fairness and justice but his great desire to unite humanity and hasten true equality.
Read: Excerpts from the letter
Read With: A Way Out of No Way, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, Strength to Love, The Law, Democracy in America. The Virtue of Selfishness; “Emancipation Proclamation”
Principle: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Themes: justice, natural law, silence, rights, love, apathy, time
1- Why is it always the right time to do right?
2- Why would the white middle class not aid King’s cause? Which causes should we be supporting?
3- How can we discern which laws to obey? Was King right to disobey certain laws? Why?
4- What current policies of today would King agree with and disagree with?