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Martin Luther King Jr.’s Manifesto on Civil Rights

Every January, we honor the life and work of the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968). If you read only one of King’s writings, I would encourage you to read his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written in April 1963 while he was incarcerated in the city jail. The letter served primarily as a response to a statement from a group of Christian clergymen who questioned King’s methods of confronting the problem of racial segregation in Birmingham.

King, himself a pastor, sets forth his motives, intentions, and justification for the nonviolent civil rights movement that he lead in America in the 1950s and 1960s. He also provides a rational, moral, and theological defense of his life’s work.

Reading this letter would be a great way to honor Dr. King and to reflect upon the critical moral issue of justice. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” can be found online here: