Letter from a Birmingham Jail Allusions

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail Allusions
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Letter from a Birmingham Jail Lesson Plans

Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

"Letter from a Birmingham Jail" challenged the complacent attitudes of the local clergymen during the Civil Right’s movement, as Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in a jail cell for his peaceful protests against injustice. Teach your students all about this important letter with Storyboard That!

Literary Allusions Lesson Plans

Literary Allusion: Definition and Examples

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

Allusions, while important to helping readers understand themes and characters on a deeper level, can sometimes be hard for students to grasp. Engage and challenge students with activities from Storyboard That!

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Storyboard Text

  • Letter from a Birmingham Jail
  • Whites Only
  • In the name of the King!
  • ALL men are created equal!
  • CREDIT: [African-Americans kneel on sidewalk outside City Hall in Birmingham, Alabama protesting racial segregation]. United Press International telephoto, 1963. Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. makes reference to T.S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral when he writes: “As T.S. Eliot has said: ‘The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.’” The play is about Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket who was murdered, and later declared a martyr, for his refusal agree to the crowning of King Henry II.
  • King references this particular line to strengthen his argument that while the police departments have been nonviolent in public, their good deed of nonviolence is to preserve an immoral system of segregation. Therefore, their efforts to be nonviolent (the right deed) are lost on the demonstrators, because they are still maintaining the institution of segregation, which is unjust (the wrong reason).
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