In "Letter from Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr. argues on behalf of direct action, argues that the newly elected local government can't be left to its own devices, argues that people have a moral obligation to obey unjust laws, and argues that white moderates are the real barrier to equality for black people.
When the eight clergymen authored their open letter to Birmingham recommending that people stop demonstrating and instead negotiate in the community and through the courts, King responded with his letter advocating direct action. He says that it's necessary to engage in direct action to make change, because things haven't changed despite promises being made. He says that nonviolent direct action isn't antithetical to negotiation and that the point of direct action is to force negotiation on issues it would rather avoid. He says "it seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."
The open letter from the clergymen also said the demonstrations were...
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