In "Letter from Birmingham City Jail," what approach to advancing civil rights does Martin Luther King Jr. recommend?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this letter, Dr. King is replying to white clergy who think that his strategy of protest is not the best way to go about getting civil rights.  King’s reply is that his way is the best way.  Therefore, we can say that King recommends the approach of nonviolent protest as a way of advancing civil rights.

King says that protest and other forms of “direct action” are needed to force the opponents of civil rights to negotiate.  He says that breaking the law is proper because people ranging from Biblical figures to the Patriots in colonial America broke laws that were unjust.  Finally, he says that nonviolence is more likely to work and is more supportive of human dignity than violence.

For these reasons, King recommends an approach based on nonviolent direct action.

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