Letter from the Birmingham Jail Quotes

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Letter from the Birmingham Jail Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.
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Letter from the Birmingham Jail Quotes (showing 1-24 of 24)
“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.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“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. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be...
This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation
“So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. ”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being 'disturbers of the peace' and 'outside agitators.' But they went on with the conviction that they were a 'colony of heaven' and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be 'astronomically intimidated.' They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. Things are different now. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the archsupporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles o popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Anyone who lives inside the US can never be considered an outsider anywhere in the country”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“All too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The urge for freedom will eventually come. This is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom; something without has reminded him that he can gain it.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice ― or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
“I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much much more effectively than the people of good will.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

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