I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers.
But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community.
In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants—for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs.
On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations.
As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise.
Right: In 1967, King serves out the sentence from his arrest four years earlier in Birmingham, Alabama.
In April 1963, King was jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, after he defied a state court’s injunction and led a march of black protesters without a permit, urging an Easter boycott of white-owned stores.