Monday, September 05, 2005

Law School Material Worth Reading

In the 3 weeks since I started law school, I've read a lot of material that most folks would find transcendently boring. As you probably know, a big chunk of law school consists of reading one landmark case or another, watching how legislatures, administrations, courts and circumstances turn the Ship of Law very slowly. Beyond the cases, our book editors include various color commentary intended to enrich our experience.

I'd almost never advise a non-law school student to read any of this material; however, I read something today that I'd advise all of you to read.

It embarrasses me a little bit to tell you that, until today, I'd never encountered Martin Luther King Jr's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Dr. King wrote the letter in response to some well-meaning but appeasement-minded white clergy who urged a change in his tactics. His response is encyclopedic (the audio version takes more than an hour), moving, and rhetorically powerful.

Here's the PDF version (formatted for printing), an HTML version, and an audio version read by Dr King.

The racial wounds opened by the flubbed New Orleans evacuation are going to sting America for some time. I hope that having Letter from a Birmingham Jail on your mind will help you make better sense of the challenges that America faces today, challenges at once similar to and different than the challenges America faced as Dr. King sweltered in an Alabama jail in 1963.


1 comment:

karen said...

Thank you for this thoughtful post. Reading this prompted me to revisit Dr King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

With all the sadness and tragedy of the last seven days, Dr. King's words are truly apropos. His Letter (and your post) inspired me to post this quote on my blog:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Ultimately, we're all in this together.