"This response to a published statement by eight fellow clergymen from Alabama (Bishop C. Grafman, Bishop Paul Hardin, Bishop Holan B. Harmon, the Reverend George M. Murray, the Reverend Edward V. Ramage and the Reverend Earl Stallings) was composed under somewhat constricting circumstances. Begun on the margins of the newspaper in which the statement appeared while I was in jail, the letter was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly Negro trusty, and concluded on a pad my attorneys were eventually permitted to leave me. Although the text remains in substance unaltered, I have indulged in the author's prerogative of polishing it for publication.".
Birmingham was the largest city in Alabama with a population of approximately 225,000. During the 1950s and 1960s, Birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in the South with strict city ordinances that made it unlawful for different races to mix and mingle in almost all social settings.
Outsiders Coming In.
Because the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was a national organization that worked to support local, grassroots campaigns for civil rights, they wee often accused of being outside agitators. When King worked with local groups such as the ACHMR, he often became the focus of media attention, resulting in local segregationists viewing him and SCLC as outsiders who were disrupting their community.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was established in 1957 to coordinate the action of local protest groups throughout the South. Under the leadership of King, the organization utilized the power and independence of black churches as the strength of its activities. SCLC differed from organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in that it operated as an umbrella organization of affiliates.