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Why We Can T Wait Summary

Decent Essays
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s book Why We Can't Wait was published in 1963 when Dr. King was a civil rights leader in Birmingham, Alabama. As a minister from Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King went to Birmingham where he successfully organized and led a 382-day boycott of that city's segregated public busing. Along with other African-Americans, Dr. King was jailed for his political actions. His book is both an analysis of the events in which he was involved in Birmingham, as well as his thinking on the overall problem of racial inequality and injustice in the United States. Why We Can’t Wait recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. Disappointed by the slow pace…show more content…
In this book, King is clearly speaking to a contemporary and mostly white audience. And the bulk of the book is devoted to answering the titular question. Time and again he steps out of the narrative to rebut various criticisms from contemporaries who said that his movement was too militant, too extreme, too impractical, too disorganized, too out-of-touch with ordinary people, too disengaged from the political process. The year 1963 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and Martin Luther King asks two questions: why should we wait for emancipation? And aware of what White Americans were doing to Black Americans, "What is the Negro doing for himself?  (King p. 8) Martin Luther King concludes by pointing out the importance of expanding on the current campaign, what his hopes are for the future, why he wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail, why the campaign was the right thing to do, why America was a better place in January of 1964 than it was in January of 1963, and why America can't wait any longer to be wholly free. King examines the history of the civil rights struggle, noting tasks…show more content…
Although always positive in tone, it deals with the realities of a campaign that is now viewed as pivotal to the success of the American Civil Rights Movement but that was anything but assured in its own time. That King acknowledges this reality while placing it in a constructive context all the while advancing his positive, forward-looking message is a testament to his vision and incredibly forgiving perseverance. It's these gritty yet honestly conveyed insights - in addition to the outstanding Letter from Birmingham Jail that is the heart and soul of the book - that make this such a worthwhile and satisfying read. It's hard to read about the discrimination and racism, but the story of the eventual triumph ultimately overshadows this, with the result that the overall story is an uplifting and inspiring one. One sees here in all of his moral and pragmatic glory a leader who is committed to effecting positive change and yet honest enough to share his own challenges and
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