Describe the circumstances that lead up to King's nonviolent, direct action approach in Birmingham.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Dr. King felt that nonviolent, direction action was necessitated by the denial of voice that was happening in Alabama.  One of these circumstances was the court order that forbde demonstrations against segregation.  For Dr. King, this circumstance helped to galvanize his approach of non- violent, but direct action.  Dr. King had not explicitly advocated breaking the law.  Yet, in seeing that the law was unjust in his own mind and offended his sensibilities as an American citizen, Dr. King was able to advocate nonviolent, direct action with that which is morally wrong.  In protesting the court decision and accepting the consequences of imprisonment that went with it, Dr. King was able to clearly advocate nonviolent, direct action as the only way to encounter the institutional racism within segregation.  For Dr. King, disobeying the court's ruling was the only possible approach he could take in the face of something that he considered to be so wrong.  This circumstance bcomes critical in the backdrop of the writing of the "Letter from Birmingham City Jail."

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