“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. That’s a beautiful creed,” King told his crowd. It is easy to read such sentences in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and other works by King and leave it at that. But it is vital to read what he said next: “America has never lived up to it.”
Jonathan Rieder in The New York Times marks the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail."