Letter From Birmingham Jail

Explain in detail, King's reaction to the advice "wait" and "give us time to act"?

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“Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Dr. King, p. 173

About mid-way through the “Letter,” Dr. King declares his primary antagonist as the white moderate. Though this passage comes earlier than the explicit discussion of the white moderate, it is one of the clearest articulations of the accusation he makes against them. He directly accuses moderates of disingenuousness when they preach patience, in effect calling them liars – they say ‘wait’ but mean ‘never.’ Worse, he suggests that they lie without even realizing it. If they are not pernicious, then they are ignorant of themselves. The larger implication of this assertion is that moderation and patience must be replaced with action and impatience. To delay justice is to be cowardly and unjust. Thus, the clergymen – and the white moderate society that the represent – should not only celebrate Dr. King’s attempt to bring about justice, but join in the crusade.