On this Martin Luther King Day, I encourage you to read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. In it, he clearly defines the methods and motivation behind the nonviolence tactics of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s sharp mind and clear thinking are on display as he responds to eight white religious leaders who have expressed concern over the movement’s recent demonstrations ultimately leading to his arrest in Birmingham.

Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

Dr. Martin Luther King

Click here to download a copy of Dr. King’s letter.