We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise.
So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community.
Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts.
The eloquent call for “constructive, nonviolent tension” to force an end to unjust laws became a landmark document of the civil-rights movement.
The letter was printed in part or in full by several publications, including the My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas.