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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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  • EmilyK
  • 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Great audio of historical document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.

10 of 10 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.

6 of 6 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Inspirational Masterpiece

This work is simply a masterpiece. King' s words both enlighten and inspire the spirit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Inspired

Truth is eternal, this letter is eternal, the man is eternal. And he, his words, his struggle must not be forgotten or we will be the poorer for it. This is both good for the mind and soul, as he speaks for the brotherhood and sisterhood of all mankind and the freedom of it especially in such dire times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Eye Opening

Wow! As a 32 year old white man, who didn’t live during MLK Jr.s lifetime, this was extremely eye opening to hear. It’s easy to see the issues still present today regarding racial injustice and to be discouraged. I am extremely grateful for this man who was a bold and courageous voice when it was needed most. Please listen to this letter with an open mind and ask that God open your eyes and heart to the injustice that still exists today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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We should all know

One time each year we place a focus on the words and life of MLK Jr. This my friends is not near enough as his works are as a relevant today as they were in the midst of his trials and triumphs. Letter from Birmingham Jail is a one of MLK’s greatest and most valuable writings. Words that our nation needs to hear and act upon in this current day.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Martin Luther king, letter from Birmingham jail

Love this letter for the time it was written and for the times of today. Silence must be stopped of injustices . This is powerful and true for today.

2 of 2 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.

2 of 2 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful