King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail Summary “Outline”
I. Introductory Paragraph
a. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
b. This letter was written April 16, 1963 in King’s jail cell within the Birmingham city jail due to being convicted of protesting without a permit
c. King wrote the letter under constricting circumstances, in which he began writing on the margins of a newspaper, then on to scraps of writing paper that was given to him by a “Negro” friend of his and concluded on a pad that his attorneys were permitted to leave him
d. King’s letter was not only directed to the 8 clergymen who criticized the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations but also “white moderates”
e. King’s purpose of writing was to reach out to those who despised the movement all over the nation, and most importantly to black Americans who failed to see the value of non-violent protest
f. King explains how non-violent protest have been used, the two types of law being used, how “white moderates” are more of a concern than extremists, and lastly how the white church has become a disappointment
II. Paragraph #2
a. King explains the steps of a non-violent campaign and how it took place in Birmingham
b. First through collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; in which King identifies Birmingham as the most segregated city in the United States
c. Second through negotiation, King states, “Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation” (pg.602).
d. Third through self-purification in which those participating in the action began preparing by planning when to stage the protest and training in non-violent tactics
e. Finally through direct action where staged sit-ins and marches throughout Birmingham were carried out
III. Paragraph #3
a. King explains the difference between just laws and unjust laws
b. King states, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God” (pg.604).
c. He also states, “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law” (pg.604).
d. He goes on to say that any law that uplifts human personality is just and any law that degrades human personality is unjust
e. King uses his situation as an example in which he was arrested for parading without a permit, that is a just law until it is used as a way to infringe his rights, it is unjust
IV. Paragraph #4
a. King shows how white moderates agree that changes need to be made, but they disagree with...