As head of the South Christians Leadership Conferences (SCLC), Martin L. King, Junior., in the year 1963 acknowledged Birmingham, Alabama, as "possibly the most carefully segregated city in the United States". His decision to make Birmingham the next battlefield on which to implement his nonviolent civil disobedience strategy brought him condemnation and criticism from fellow clergymen, friends and enemies, black and white. Alabama, they argued, under the leadership of the new governor, Albert Boutwell, would be taking giant steps forward away from the racist and segregationist past promoted and maintained by former governor George Wallace. The prominent evangelist Bill Graham encouraged King to patiently wait, "to put the brakes on" (Miller, 69).
Indirectly identifying King and his supporters as outsiders, ignorant of Alabama's true internal affairs and new promise of progress, eight local fellow clergymen, convinced that the courts, not demonstrations, were the appropriate venues through which to effect change, made their convictions known; and the Birmingham News published their views and sentiments in a 13-paragraph article titled "White Clergymen Urge Local Negroes to Withdraw from Demonstrations," on April 13, 1963 (Branch, 285). The men challenged King, rebuking the Birmingham demonstration as "unwise and untimely". Perhaps more important, "the clergymen invoke...
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...es emotional appeal that attracted people.
Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63. New York: Simon and Schuster, (1988).p.285
Jr. Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream/Letter from Birmingham Jail Perfection Learning, (2007)p.45
King Martin Luther (Jr.), Lillback Peter A. Letter from Birmingham Jail The Providence Forum, (2003). P.85
King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have A Dream, Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, edited by James M. Washington, 83–100. San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, (1986).p.195
Miller, William Robert. Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Life, Martyrdom and Meaning for the World. New York: Avon Books (1968).p.69
Sernett Milton C. African American religious history: a documentary witness. Duke University Press (1999) p.98
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