I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail for the first time last week. And it is so ridiculously good.
A few of my favorite lines:
+ “But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. 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.”
+ “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
+ “Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”
+ “Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?”
+ “Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
+ “If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”