Describe the four basic steps for a nonviolent campaign as outlined by King in "Letter from Birmingham City Jail."

The four basic steps for a nonviolent campaign as outlined by King in "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" are the collection of facts, in which it is determined whether injustices exist, negotiation, in which there is a "dialogue" between the two sides, self-purification, in which people attend workshops and are prepared to face the consequences of protesting, and direct action, in which the community marches in public to highlight injustice.

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When Dr. Martin Luther King wrote this letter, he was imprisoned in Birmingham and wanted to address several white religious leaders who criticized his actions in their city as "unwise and untimely." Dr. King eloquently addresses these criticisms, noting that he rarely does so as he faces so many critics,...

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When Dr. Martin Luther King wrote this letter, he was imprisoned in Birmingham and wanted to address several white religious leaders who criticized his actions in their city as "unwise and untimely." Dr. King eloquently addresses these criticisms, noting that he rarely does so as he faces so many critics, and outlines four things to consider when organizing a nonviolent campaign in order to dissolve any public sentiments that he has acted unjustly in Birmingham.

The first step is to collect facts to determine whether injustices are alive. Dr. King notes that he has done this; Birmingham, he has analyzed, is perhaps the most segregated city during this time period. The police brutality that sweeps Birmingham is known throughout the country. The homes and churches of African Americans have been repeatedly bombed with most cases left unsolved. Injustice is indeed alive in Birmingham.

The second step is negotiation. In response to the aforementioned injustices, leaders of the African American community sought to work with white leaders in Birmingham to resolve some of the tension and injustices. Dr. King notes that they have been stonewalled by the city's "fathers." At one point, merchants in the city promised to remove insulting racial signs from their stores, and the leaders of the African American community promised no demonstrations in a show of good faith for these efforts. They realized after several months that they were victims of lies, as the signs remained in the stores.

Dr. King notes that the community then moved to self-purification, the third step. The group began participating in workshops on nonviolence, asking each other whether they could take blows without retaliation. They questioned whether they could face jail time for their protests.

And finally, they took direct action, the fourth step in a nonviolent campaign. Dr. King notes that the purpose of direct action is to create tension that forces people to confront the issues at hand. He acknowledges that some will not think that creating tension and "nonviolent" protests can work together but describes it this way:

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. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

Dr. King notes that he is not afraid of nonviolent tension, as it can bring new understandings and solutions.

By outlining these steps for nonviolent campaigns, Dr. King shows how the oppressed can make peaceful yet steady progress toward freedom.

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In this letter, King Jr. outlines the following steps of a nonviolent resistance:

  1. The collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist. By injustices, King Jr. refers to the discriminatory treatment of African-Americans in the judicial process in Birmingham and the bombing of African-American homes and churches.
  2. Negotiation. King Jr. advocates a "dialogue" between African-American leaders and the leaders of the city to ensure the fairer treatment of African Americans in the city. 

  3. Self purification. In this stage, King Jr. created a number of workshops to educate people about nonviolence. King Jr.'s aim was to ensure that people were able to face violence from others without retaliating and understood the reality of going to jail.

  4. Direct action. This final step consists of getting the community together and marching in public. These marches are always nonviolent but their purpose is to highlight the plight of African Americans, forcing city leaders to face the problem of injustice and begin negotiations for their fairer treatment.

By following these steps, King Jr. ensures that peace is maintained while bringing the injustices faced by African Americans to the forefront of civil life.

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In "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King explicitly outlined four steps for nonviolent resistance. He numbered them one through four, and thus they are clearly and unambiguously presented. These four steps are:

  1. Collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive. In Birmingham, these included common violence against black people, police brutality, and unjust treatment of black people by the courts. 
  2. Negotiation: Black leaders had repeatedly attempted to negotiate with city leaders -- both politicians and businessmen -- but to no avail.
  3. Self-purification: King and others began to conduct workshops on non-violence, involving self-reflection and training in practicing non-violence even under great provocation. This is important because if nonviolent protesters yield to provocation and return violence for violence, they lose the moral high ground. 
  4. Direct action: After the first three steps had been completed, King and others began to organize direct actions. He argues that these are a last resort but fully justified by the continued and appalling mistreatment of black people. He argues that nonviolent civil disobedience is justified because he and his fellow black people have pursued all possible legal remedies to no avail for an extended period of time.
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In "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," King argues that there are four basic steps in any nonviolent campaign:

"[C]ollection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action."

In the first step of collecting facts, King argues that the injustices done to black citizens in Birmingham are well documented:  open segregation and a series of bombings on black establishments.  Next, King says that negotiation is necessary, so he and other activists attempt to talk with leaders of the Birmingham economic district to work out more just laws.  When they are turned away, the activists move into step three:  self-purification.  In this step, King and other activists train people to accept the harsh retaliation that nonviolent action spurs while resisting the urge to fight back.  Finally, direct action is taken and acts such as boycotts and sit-ins are staged.  So, these are the steps King says are necessary for any nonviolent campaign.

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