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letter from birmingham jail

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20496
    ∞

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I like to read the letter from birmingham jail. But to really appreciate it, you must start off by reading the letter to the editor of the local paper that prompted King's famous letter.

letter to the editor by local clergy

the letter from birmingham jail


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Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1386
paul wheaton wrote:To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I like to read the letter from birmingham jail. But to really appreciate it, you must start off by reading the letter to the editor of the local paper that prompted King's famous letter.

letter to the editor by local clergy

the letter from birmingham jail


People are so much less religious these days. Nowadays, one could respond, "So if you claim that your Imaginary Friend hates injustice, why should I care?"
Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2841
    
  11

That's a very moving letter, which I'd never read before in its entirety. He lays out very clearly how oppression damages both the oppressor and the oppressed, and that peace based on tolerating an injustice is a fragile peace that cannot last forever. I found especially poignant Dr. King's observation that the privileged class always councils the unprivileged to "Wait" for justice. How many times have I myself thought that about marriage equality and other gay rights issues ... that change was coming if they would only be patient?

It's somewhat hopeful to see how much things have changed in 50 years, even as it's sobering to realize how bad they were then. At the time King wrote his letter, black people couldn't get coffee at a white coffee counter. They couldn't ride in the white section of a bus. They couldn't stay at white hotels. In many cases, they couldn't attend white schools despite a federal law saying they could. Everything was illogically split on racial lines. My grandmother lived in New Orleans briefly and rode the bus home from work. Since she lived in a white neighborhood, the white seats were gone so she sat in the black seats. She was often told she would have to stand up, but she'd claim to have black blood. Yea grandma! As with Rosa Parks, aching feet finally became the catalyst for change.

I disagree with Frank. Anyone callously dismissing religious arguments still does so at his own peril. Could an avowed atheist win the presidency even now? What struck me more was King's citations of Martin Buber, Thomas Aquinas, Socrates, and more. It's hard to imagine someone doing that today without being considered elitist and out of touch with the "common man". It's a shame that.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1386
Greg Charles wrote:That's a very moving letter, which I'd never read before in its entirety. He lays out very clearly how oppression damages both the oppressor and the oppressed, and that peace based on tolerating an injustice is a fragile peace that cannot last forever. I found especially poignant Dr. King's observation that the privileged class always councils the unprivileged to "Wait" for justice. How many times have I myself thought that about marriage equality and other gay rights issues ... that change was coming if they would only be patient?
Not to mention all the things which you and I still do consider to be outrages demanding suppression, for which anti-oppression activism has yet to begin.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8805
    
    5
quite a letter indeed


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20496
    ∞

I read the letter aloud and save it as an mp3: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/631-podcast-101-letter-from-a-birmingham-jail/

fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11172
    
  16

Today is the anniversary of when MLK wrote the letter.

I have no idea what happened in Boston or why, but perhaps we could all reflect on MLK's ideas and beliefs.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
 
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