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King was determined to bring the Civil Rights Movement into the limelight where people would come to understand his message and the messages of the movement in a non-violent way. King needed the media, he needed exposure, but he didn't want violence, and he most certainly didn't want incarceration..... this letter stemmed from a response to being jailed, a response to criticism, in which he was publicly chastised by local ministers for taking part in a siutation without invitation.
The clergymen's open rebuke angered Kind and inspired this letter. His disappointment in their actions was obvious, I believe he saw their admonishment as betrayal. Non-violent protest was King's aim, but he didn't expect to see the police force get a pat on the back, while he and the SCLC were afforded nothing less than a slap in the face. King hadn't traveled to Birmingham to incite violence, as his detractors claimed, thus this letter became his response.
Letter From Birmingham Jail
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