Letter from the Birmingham Jail



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Martin Luther King Jr. "Letter from the Birmingham Jail"


  1. What are the four steps King outlines as necessary in any non-violent campaign? Explain each of the four steps.




  1. How does King argue for the moral obligation to break segregation laws?




  1. Compare King's distinction between just and unjust laws to Augustine's discussion of the distinction between "eternal law" and "temporal law" in On Free Choice of the Will.




  1. How does King argue that segregation laws are unjust? He gives 6 reasons for his view. What are they?




  1. Why does King think that it is necessary to accept the penalty for breaking unjust laws?




  1. King claims a kinship with Socrates at three different places in his text (pp. 266, 270, 271). What does he see as the basis for this kinship? To what extent is he correct that Socrates had practiced civil disobedience as King understands it?




  1. What is the "myth of time" (p. 271)?




  1. How does King criticize the "white moderate" and the Church of his day? Compare to what Thoreau has to say about his fellow citizens of Massachusetts who claim to be "opposed to slavery" and yet support the State which tolerates slavery.

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