Letter From a Birmingham Jail


Saturday’s Mission Outreach Day wasn’t just another reason to get together and have a good time.
In addition to the People Power Revolution in the Philippines, the event marked the adoption of the Namibian Constitution, the release of Nelson Mandela from the South African prison were he had spent much of his adult life and Black History Month.

And in the spirit of these historical mile posts that intersect every February, I would like to challenge you, dear Bremerton Beat reader, to read perhaps Martin Luther King’s most famous piece of writing. He was, after all, a minister, so much of his words were delivered to audiences. This piece was composed in the solitude of a jail cell.

Here it is, Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It isn’t long, only about 6,900 words. It will take you longer to flip through the channels on cable in the futile effort to find something worth watching that to read it.

I’d be interested to hear what you think.

4 thoughts on “Letter From a Birmingham Jail

  1. Great letter, but asking many of the people in this town to read it at length and grasp its message is a stretch at best. Inspiring and gut wrenching it is to me that he could write a letter so elequently and so filled with patience and humility. It is too bad he could not live to see the advances that this country has made towards justice and equality…we sill have a long way to go…but, I think he would have been proud. I was only a toddler when he was marching, but I have seen some of the things that he was fighting against…and for. He would be proud…yes, I think he would be proud.

  2. Martin Luther King said that was the longest letter he ever wrote. It is certainly the longest letter I’ve ever read.

    I lived in the south for a short time before segregation…the first time I’d seen the double signs everywhere calling for segregated public water fountains as well as segregation signs for public facilities. Seeing up close and personal, evidence of dictatorship, of slavery – made me feel ashamed to be white…to be the same ‘color’ of those who enslaved.

    The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill testimony further showed the watching world an educated and intelligent people – a far cry from the usual subservient, comic roles played in the movies and on TV. It seemed to turn color focused white folks colorblind.

    Martin Luther King, as Malcolm X and others have…including the fighter, Muhammad Ali (Cassias Clay) …”Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” …
    all helped rally the world against racism, against judging others by the color of their skin…against prejudice. .
    Sharon O’Hara

  3. Punkinhead and Sharon:

    Thanks for taking the time.

    I know it was a stretch, but both of you read it. That’s pretty good.

    The idea came from a posting on a story related to MLK’s B-Day where a commenter commented that some protesters were had intentionally broke the law to get arrested.

    Yeah, I thought, that’s what MLK said to do.

    Love him or hate him, I just wanted to make it a little easier to read what MLK actually said, so people could judge for themselves.


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