“MLK Letter from a Birmingham Jail” – Decision-Making

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. is a powerful text that many credit as the direct inspiration for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the letter, King outlines the careful decision-making that went into timing his organization’s nonviolent demonstrations. Pairing his letter with the Abraham Lincoln conversation about decision-making allows students to focus on the decisions King made, and the progress he intended to achieve. I would introduce the conversation after reading the part of the letter in which King argues that his demonstrations were, in fact, “timely.” I would ask students to consider how King was also, at times, a “slow walker.”

Level:  Secondary English/Language Arts and Social Studies

Subject Area:  US History and American Literature

Author:  Tiffany Heitman


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