yesterday i read Martin Luther King Jr.’s thoughts in Letter From Birmingham Jail and was struck by their immense wisdom and meaning. i wanted to share some of my favorite lines and statements from it. there were some much larger passages which i especially loved but i refrained from stating larger ones as i want to encourage you to read it for yourself as a whole if you haven't.
it is such an incredibly applicable and relevant piece for our world's present struggles.
- so am i compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town.
-injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
-whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
-in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps:
1. collection of the facts to determine wether injustices exist
4. direct action
-i must confess that i am not afraid of the word “tension.” i have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, non violent tension which is necessary for growth.
-we know that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
-and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards white people.
-all segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. it gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.
-lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
-society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.
-human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this “hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. we must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.
-the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be — extremists for hate or for love? will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?
-there can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
-i have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. but now i must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.
-in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.