The Effect of Mlk’s Letter

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In a dark, dingy cell on a hot summer’s day in Birmingham Alabama, a humble, honest man spoke out with a pen and paper. His voice would be silenced not long after, but the echoes of it would carry on and influence the movement it proposed. MLK’s letter from the Birmingham jail has had a great influence on the civil rights movement in three ways. It encouraged non-violent protest as opposed to violent, it stated that the time for action was now, and it pointed out the white moderate as the biggest stumbling block to the movement. MLK’s letter from the Birmingham jail encouraged non-violent protest as opposed to violent. MLK considered this point important enough to make it a large part of his discourse. The reason for this being included in the letter was due to the fact that much of the people in opposition to the movement were worried about violence. MLK himself pointed out that “The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement.” MLK’s letter called for “direct action” which he explained was sit ins, marches and so on. Non violent direct action is what the Birmingham letter states is the best path to follow as far as civil rights are concerned. This was the path that was followed to a large extent even after MLK’s death. MLK’s letter influenced the civil rights movement to start at that time and not wait any longer. MLK’s letter’s purpose was to give a response to why blacks needed to act at that time instead of waiting longer and letting “negotiations” work. MLK went into great detail as to why now was the time. He stated “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly
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