Photo by the U.S. Library of Congress
In July 1963, The Progressive published Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from his Birmingham jail cell, under the headline “Tears of Love.” We are republishing this piece today, as the nation absorbs the terrible news of the church shooting in South Carolina.
King penned his letter a few months before the church bombing in Birmingham, writiing presciently, about: “ unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches” and pushing back against city leaders’ description of civil rights protests as “unwise and untimely”
"During the recent crisis in Birmingham, eight of the leading clergymen of Alabama—Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish—issued a formal statement characterizing the Negro protest actions as "unwise and untimely" and urging "our own Negro community to withdraw support from these demonstrations, and to unite locally in working peacefully for a better Birmingham." The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a remarkable reply in longhand from his jail cell in Birmingham. It is a memorable document which proclaims and explains'many of the enduring principles of the current struggle."
Read the full letter in the attached PDF below.