Bill Hudson / Associated Press
January 16, 2013
Firefighters in Birmingham, Ala., turn their hoses on civil rights activists. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights campaign drew nationwide attention in the Southern city in the spring of 1963. King was jailed during the demonstrations, along with many supporters. From Birmingham jail, King wrote a letter explaining his stand on nonviolent protests: "You may well ask," he wrote, "'Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?' You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. 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."