Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community.In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants—for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs.Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham.
But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.
The eloquent call for “constructive, nonviolent tension” to force an end to unjust laws became a landmark document of the civil-rights movement.
The letter was printed in part or in full by several publications, including the My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas.
On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations.
As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise.
There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers.
But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.
A statement published in This prompted King to write a lengthy response, begun in the margins of the newspaper.
He smuggled it out with the help of his lawyer, and the nearly 7,000 words were transcribed.