i would like ti know what was going on and who were the readers.
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Most versions of the “Letter” open with an Author’s Note explaining that it was composed as a response to a “published statement by eight fellow clergymen,” while Dr. King was incarcerated in a Birmingham jail. As a result, he was forced to initially write the text on newspaper margins, and only later on paper provided by his attorney. He insists that outside of “polishing it for publication,” the letter has been essentially unaltered from what he originally wrote (169). (See the “About Letter from Birmingham Jail” portion of the ClassicNote for a more in-depth discussion of the letter’s creation.)
The “Letter” is dated April 16, 1963, and addressed to “My Dear Fellow Clergymen.” Dr. King explains that he has read the recent statement published by clergymen in a Birmingham newspaper, describing Dr. King’s recent activities in the city as “unwise and untimely.” Though he does not usually respond to criticisms – he receives far too many for that to be practical – he believes these men are “of genuine good will” and hence do their criticisms deserve an answer (169).