“Letter from Birmingham Jail”
By Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read by Dion Graham
Published by christianaudio
Length: 51 minutes
It’s time for a short history lesson. I picked up this audiobook from the SYNC-YA free summer of audiobooks this year and was ready for some thought provoking commutes to work. I got just that and even a bit more. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the end-all be-all when it comes to the civil rights movement in the United States. He was the leading force in the late 1960s in fighting for the rights of what are now referred to as African-Americans, back then called simply blacks.
This book is a letter written on the margins of a newspaper April 16th, 1963. Birmingham, Alabama has had a spring of non-violent protests known as the Birmingham Campaign, seeking to draw attention to the segregation against blacks by the city government and downtown retailers. The organizers longed to create a non-violent tension so severe that the powers that be would be forced to address the rampant racism head on. Recently arrested was Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is there in that jail cell that he writes this letter; on the margins of a newspaper he pens this defense of non-violence against segregation. His accusers, though many, in this case were not the white racist leaders or retailers he protested against, but 8 black men who saw him as “other” and as too extreme. To them and to the world he defended the notion that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
This audio is well worth anybody’s time to just absorb and think about the plight of humanity. Throughout the listening of this book, I couldn’t help but wonder where Mr. King would stand on equal rights and recognition of homosexuals in America. Much of the anti-gay stance revolves around the “Religious Right” and with King being a very religious man and calling on the word of God to emphasize the fight for human equality, I could see how he could become conflicted with the latest civil rights movement in America.