Written from a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell in 1963 in response to criticisms from eight white Alabama clergymen, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” is a key document of the Civil Rights Movement and an important contribution to American history. Across this powerful work, King details the organizing principles of nonviolent protest and provides intellectual and historical context for its necessity in Alabama and across the United States at a time when racial tensions were at a fever pitch. As powerful now as it was when it was written and published, King’s letter demonstrates the courage, passion, and brilliance that made him a leader in the fight to demand justice and equality for Black Americans.


Read our summary and analysis of "Letter from Birmingham Jail."


See a complete list of the historical figures in in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and in-depth analyses of Martin Luther King, Jr and Eugene "Bull" Connor.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary devices in "Letter from Birmingham Jail," including major themes, motifs, and symbols.


Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by reading these key quotes.