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1st Student's Major

History

1st Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Students' Professional Biography

Noah Moore is a Junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, working on an undergraduate degree in History and Social Studies Education. Noah is originally from Owatonna, MN, is the Vice-President of the MSU History Club, and volunteers with the Steele County Historical Society giving tours and helping with exhibit construction. He intends to continue his education in history through graduate work, focusing on the history of the Christian Church in the Twentieth-Century.

Mentor's Name

Dr. Angela Cooley

Mentor's Email Address

angela.cooley@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

History

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

In April of 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a defense of non-violent direct action that students across the country read today. His "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" stands as the pinnacle of civil rights literature, but most people do not realize that it was more than a rhetorical device used to support his cause. Dr. King's letter was in fact a response to different letter, published in the Birmingham News by eight prominent, white clergymen on April 13, 1963. Their letter, "A Call for Unity," urged blacks to end the civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham. They claimed that such action would set back legal efforts to reach a racial compromise. This letter represented a larger threat that King hoped to combat: moderate politics. When many think back on the Civil Rights Movement, they see two sides of a coin, segregationists and integrationists, but the reality is far more complex. Understanding the context for the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" helps one to see the shades of grey in a highly moralized piece of history.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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