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ERIC Number: EJ1024292
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
The Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience: The Case behind King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Kaplan, Howard
Social Education, v77 n3 p117-121 May-Jun 2013
Fifty years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In exploring the story of the events behind the essay, and the Supreme Court case that resulted, "Walker v. Birmingham", 399 U.S. 307 (1967), educators will find a pedagogically powerful lens through which to review the seminal events of Birmingham in 1963 and consider the relationship between civil disobedience and the rule of law. Ultimately, "Walker v. Birmingham", a legal case grounded in the historical events of the 1960s civil rights movement, can be viewed, appropriately for social studies educators, as a case about the values and attributes, sometimes conflicting, of the "rule of law." It offers a way to enrich study of the 1963 Birmingham events and the civil rights movement. The case unsettles understanding of what forms of civil disobedience lie "within" or "outside" the rule of law, since such judgments are contingent on how we interpret, and apply, these principles and values.
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama