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Watch this short Biography video about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What new information did you learn from the video?

Dr. King penned “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963, as an open letter to several clergymen who believed battling racial segregation should be done in courts of law, not through public protest. Below are some excerpts from the letter. What do the excerpts tell you about how MLK felt about nonviolent protest? What do they tell you about his feelings toward moderate people in the fight for racial equality?

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with a narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

“Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

“All too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.”

“I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. “

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Making Connections


Do you think that nonviolent protests, like the ones discussed in this book, are effective? Explain why or why not.


Have you read any other books about the life of Martin Luther King Jr.? What is something that you learned from those books that was not discussed in this one?


Can you think of any people who are alive today that dedicated their lives to a certain cause?

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