Martin Luther King Jr. begins his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by addressing clergymen who criticized his involvement in the Birmingham protests, calling him an outsider. King explains that he was invited by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and that, as a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he has ties in every Southern states. King claims that he cannot be considered an outsider because any injustice that happens in the US concerns everyone.

The writer proceeds to defend nonviolent activism and the demonstrations in Birmingham. He describes how before sit-ins and marches, activists need to gather facts about injustices, to try and negotiate them, and to purify themselves. King argues that Birmingham is one of the most segregated American cities and that all negotiations failed, while the African-American population continues to be mistreated. He describes how several months before, merchants made a promise to the black community to remove racial signs but later failed to keep. The leade...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in