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I Have a Dream / Letter from Birmingham Jail

4.55  ·  Rating Details ·  1,364 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In 'Letter from Birmingham Jail,' Martin Luther King Jr. explains why blacks can no longer be victims of inequality. Also features King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which was delivered to 250,000 civil rights marchers
Paperback, 59 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Perfection Learning (first published 1963)
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Although this is a perfect day to read these inspiring words of Martin Luther King, Jr., any day will work. Take a couple of hours and discover one of the greatest American history lessons ever offered.
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
I am the product of MLK's "dream" as the daughter of a black mother and white father. Who knows, I might not be here if people like him hadn't fought for racial equality and against segregation.

Brilliant free BBC audio of "I Have A Dream" read by Maya Angelou, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ndileka Mandela (granddaughter of Nelson Mandela), Stevie Wonder, Doreen Lawrence (mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence), Malala Yousafzai (sixteen-year-old student from Swat in Pakistan, shot
The eloquence of Martin Luther King Jr. is stunning, and there's no finer showcase of his gift with words than "Letter From Burmingham Jail" and the "I Have a Dream" speech. From a jail cell in Alabama, King stands up for the right of African-Americans to demand equality in a country that has promised this gift to all its citizens. His message was powerful in the 1960's, but it is no less relevant today. Segregation may hide itself better in the 21st century, but it hasn't disappeared completely ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Letter from a Birmingham Jail is amazing. When I read it for the first time for a class in college I sort of paced around my dorm room afterward, unsure of how to process how beautiful it was. I'm not being facetious either when I say it features the best use of semicolons ever. King was the rare man able to "only connect!" as Forster said. He truly connects passion and people and prose. Glad to revisit these two pieces today.

King's "I Have a Dream" speech is something all school children are f
Jan 22, 2014 Steven rated it it was amazing
"I Have a Dream":

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, speeches ever written or spoken. The diction, the rhetorical approach, the entirety of the speech is beautiful. Go listen, as no one can do it more justice than the man himself.

"Letter from Birmingham Jail":

A great tool for literary and rhetorical analysis. It is poignant and damning to the men it is directed. It uses all of the tools of persuasive writing
Jun 05, 2016 CherylAnn rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. You hear portions of the speech every year, but try reading the thing out loud in its entirety to gain a fresh appreciation for its message and an ear more attuned to its rhythms and diction. Beautiful. His letter is compelling for any time, and pertinent especially to our tendencies toward comfort and uphold in the status quo. Something he pointed out about time was instructive...time never accomplishes anything, it only marks effort for good or evil to more or less efficient degree, ...more
Oct 29, 2012 Whitney rated it really liked it
An inspiring speech that tells the progress made from the years of slavery to a life of equality for all African Americans by Martin Luther King Jr. Students will become more aware of the discrimination that occurred during a time of hatred between blacks and whites. A lesson that hatred and bitterness do not last and acceptance remains. Martin Luther King Jr said to not be discourage by the hatred of many, but continue to soar and not wallow in despair. His words were so tremendous and moving. ...more
Aug 23, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Unbelievable!! I think this should be a required reading in high school. It is so well written, it make you want to start a protest right now. Its application today is still releavant. Really it is so moving. The actually letter is about 11 pages. I read the letter that was written to him by the clergymen first, which was a great introduction on the why's and the direct question/answers in the text. Although this was specifically written in response to the letter is was used as his national plat ...more
P.S. Winn
Oct 17, 2016 P.S. Winn rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing look at history and the writings are something everyone should read to try and bring better understanding to our world.
Jul 14, 2013 Iris rated it liked it
Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and his letter written from Birmingham jail are important historical documents that are worthwhile to read. Not only are these documents important historically, King is a master of rhetoric. Together these two documents only cover 44 pages, and this version has notes that help explain his references to people from the past. This is definitely recommended reading. The reason I didn't give it more stars is simply a measure of my enjoyment. While I found ...more
Dawn Wells
May 08, 2016 Dawn Wells rated it really liked it
Love this writing. Not just because of what it stands for but that it will last forever.
Oct 08, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it
Read a studio recording of I Have A Dream, provided by the BBC and featuring some of the more noteworthy human rights spokespeople around the world, from Joan Baez to the Dalai Lama, from Stevie Wonder to Doreen Lawrence, mother of a teenager murdered by bigots in 1993.
Of course the words to MLK's speech pervade Western political and social rhetoric, and this audio version helped bring out the social and geographical context in which the movement was first active, and demonstrated why it was nee
Great historical documents capturing the perspective of the time and the rationale used by Dr. King for both his movement and to judge law. Provides a nice contrast to Justice Holmes's arguments surrounding moral law.
Jul 13, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
Required reading. Full text of the landmark "I Have a Dream" speech (like most people, I'd only heard the last few minutes of his speech) as well as the beautifully phrased and brilliantly argued open "Letter from Birmingham Jail," which I'd heard about but never read. Social justice activists can study King's philosophy and writers, his rhythm and wordplay.
Gerald Lucas
May 21, 2014 Gerald Lucas rated it it was amazing
A profound document of America: Dr. Kings message still resonates 45 years later in a country where the struggle continues to find our common humanity. How can one read this document and not find a responsibility to act against oppression and inequality? ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Collin rated it liked it
I thought it was longer. I saw something about MLK on tv for black history month and we had to present a lesson about the intergration of schools in the US. Seemed like something i should read.
Jan 15, 2010 Juli rated it it was amazing
I read this in high school but didn't appreciate the complexity of both thought and language. Rereading it now, I cried and found a whole new respect for Dr. King, his message, and his mission.
I know I've read much of his work, excerpted, before. But, I am sure there are some unfortunate gaps, and I would like to read his works in their entirety.
I annotated this entire piece of work! Martin Luther King Jr. spoke undeniable truth! Excellent! Brilliant man ahead of his time!
Oct 12, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Both "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "I Have a Dream" are nearly must reads for a full understanding of America.
Feb 07, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Dr. King shows through his letters his incredible strength to love those who hate him. I love this book.
Kira Brighton
He knows what he's doing, this guy.

*Read for school 11th grade and sophomore year college*
Nov 04, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
One of the most powerful pieces of rhetoric of all time. (In English, at least.)
John Yelverton
May 01, 2013 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest speeches of all time, and sadly, one of the most ignored.
Sara Stacey
Sara Stacey marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2016
I Am
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Basam Murtaza
Basam Murtaza rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2016
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Kelly Swaim rated it it was amazing
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Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His ef ...more
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“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” 15 likes
“...and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky...” 6 likes
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