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A Reinterpretation of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
Jonathan Rieder, Barnard College
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-56297-12
Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation (Book)
Title: Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation
Author: Jonathan Rieder
Abstract: Gospel of Freedom explores the intricacies of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s rejoinder to the eight white clergymen who criticized the Birmingham protests and branded King an extremist. The book analyzes the dramatic tension that characterizes the two halves of the "Letter." In the first section, King emerges as the "Diplomat," who seeks to justify himself to his white critics and win them over through rational explication, appeals to pathos, moral exhortation, and manners. In the second section, King abandons the effort to persuade whites and becomes a prophet unbound, who focuses on chiding and chastizing them. It is as if we are meeting King anew, and we encounter not the hopeful dreamer but the angry prophet who rebuked white America, found solace in the faith and reislience of the slaves, and believed that moral appeal without struggle never brings justice.
Primary URL: http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Freedom-Birmingham-Struggle-Changed/dp/1620400588
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes