Though Dr. Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail contains many interesting and important passages, one especially stood out to me; "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking.
But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension'. I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood" (505, paragraph 1) I chose this passage because it seems to me that even though many of the whites in the Birmingham area didn't necessarily agree with the white power groups, they may not have felt strong enough about the cause to do anything. Thus enabling the white power groups to commit all these injustices unchallenged, because either they turned their heads, or were simply not fully aware of the details. Dr. Martin Luther King brought it right in front of their faces, into public places, so whites had no choice but to realize the injustices.
In this passage Dr. Martin Luther King explains his protests by pointing out that explaining that "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue." Finally Dr. King states that "Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal." Even though many white people had heard about the injustices, they likely heard about it in the white-run newspapers, and did not get to see the cases objectively. Instead they saw the white-mans presentation-"half truths." This was one reason that the whites who didn't necessarily agree had never developed a strong enough disagreement. African-Americans were always portrayed as wild, ignorant, animal like.
When Dr Martin Luther King and his followers, showed the kind of mental strength to take beatings, incarcerations all without striking back, it gave the white power groups no case to justify their trespasses with. They could no longer lie to make themselves look as if acting in defense, instead everyone saw the truth, that they attacked people who had not attacked them.