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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2013

April 16th, the year is 1963. Birmingham, Alabama, has had a spring of nonviolent 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 nonviolent 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 nonviolence against segregation. His accusers, though many, in this case were not the white racist leaders or retailers he protested against, but eight 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".

(P)2013 eChristian

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  • Emily
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 04-28-14

Great audio of historical document

It is hard to rate this since Letter is an important document in civil rights history. My 6th grader had to read it for school and so we decided to listen to this audio. I was glad we did. The audio performance was quite good and it was, as a result, a much more compelling experience than just reading it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Educate yourself!

One only need to take out references to segregation to realize that too many things remain the same. With the single exception to segregation, and especially when it comes to law enforcement and the justice system, this letter is as relevant today as it was in 1963. That is not ok. We can and must do better.

In Letter from Birmingham Jail, MLK lays out the problem of inequality in a beautiful, powerful, and extremely clear open letter. He reminds the reader that injustice anywhere in a threat to injustice everywhere. In very direct language, he describes how poorly black citizens are treated in Birmingham courts and is not at all ambiguous in stating that the Negro had no other option but to revolt. It is amazing to hear, in his own words, how he collaborated with others to see if they might be able to construct a non-violent revolt that would cause enough "tension" and "crisis" to force society to change what it would not otherwise change. He questioned, with those who helped him construct a movement, if they could "take it." Could they take being jailed and still not react in a violent way? Could they achieve equality by enduring even worse treatment than they have already suffered? Would it make a real change? It is hard to imagine anyone reading this pre-civil rights letter and not being extremely moved.

MLK clearly defines just and unjust laws. Just laws are those laws that the minorities are forced to follow only when the majority follow them as well. This includes *application of the law*. If laws are disproportionately enforced on minorities, according to MLK, they are unjust. MLK makes no secret of his disdain for the white moderate who refuses to engage in extremist direct action. After all, according to MLK, any worthwhile change realized throughout history was the result of extremists like Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther, etc. He is proud to be considered an extremist and uses his extremism to engage in direct but non-violent action to affect social change.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A must listen American classic

Great job by the narrator. Easy listen that will help remind us of our checkered past and how we can look to change the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent reading

Wonderfully simple reading of a work that should be required reading for anyone who calls themselves a Christian. Still as relevant today as when it was written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lovely reading of powerful words

I purchased this version of 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' as part of a course I'm taking at the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. through the Starr King School for the Ministry.

I really enjoyed it - the narrator, Dion Graham - was wonderful with very expressive pronunciation. He conveyed emotion and skill, a degree of poise and eloquence that I'm sure Dr. King would have enjoyed.

Thank you for this - audio books and audio recordings of written pieces are one of my favorite ways to learn and study.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Moorpark, CA, United States
  • 08-26-17

An important point in America's history, penned by a critical player in the events of the time

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was the leading voice for justice in the civil rights struggles of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His eloquence, willingness to sacrifice for the cause of fill citizen's rights, and ability to maintain his non-violence in the face of provocations that were designed to elicit violent responses and intended to allow his foes to demonize the cause (thus undermining broad support) were inspiring. While this isn't his most cogent and beautiful work, it is among the most significant in its effect on garnering support inside Christian organizations that were critical inroads for the movement.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Used for school

My teacher assigned this letter for an essay and it was due the next day. but I work and go to school full time. so I listened to this a couple times during my shift and then won't the essay once I got home. super handy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A letter everyone should read!

MLK was an absolute genius and his time. Without him the civil rights movement of our fellow African-American citizens would never be where they are right now, which isn't saying they are where they should be, but his work was masterful! He is a wizard with the pen and written word. A must read especially for the times we are going through right now in removing the last of the chains binding our black brothers and sisters. American justice will prevail!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Classic

The performance makes the listener feel like they are hearing MLK himself reading his powerful letter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Letter from Birmingham jail

Today is December 5, 2016. We here in America are seeing a resurgence of racism and bigotry as it was. Letter from Birmingham jail reminds me that we as a people survived then as we will now. Right now no one know what to expect of our new administration, but if we learn from before may not repeat the sins of the past. Thank you for your letter of education and encouragement. Thank God there was a Martin Luther King Jr.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful