The Group

Two-part series using different portions of the Letter from Birmingham Jail. Open to Chicago School of Professional Psychology campus, approximately 10 in attendance at each discussion


The questions generated a lot of discussion. In the first part of the series, we had a very diverse group of sex, age, religious backgroup, identity, race so the object resonated with people in different ways. The second group was all women. Although there was some differences amongst feedback, there may have been too many similarities, so it seemed as though everyone agreed with one anothers comments. Overall, it was interesting to see how a letter written over 40 years ago still has a lot of relevance in the issues of social justice and human rights today.


No challenges, but it took a while for the group to open up and begin to talk freely in the first discussion. I would definitely work on connecting people's comments more so that they are not left hanging but try to relate them in some cohesive way. Doing so allows the discussion to go deeper.

Opening Activity

Part 1--Pair with a person and share a time in your life when you were denied something or felt your rights were taken away. Part 2--Have you ever remained silent about something when you could have spoken up? Why?

Discussion Questions

What do you think of Dr. King's comment about a "well-timed" direct action? What do you think about the words "wait" and "never" being used synonymously as it relates to human rights? How is the reading relevant to what we see in society now? What is your thought about excerpt, "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding frompeople of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewidlering than outright rejection."

Closing Activity

Think about what you said in the opening activity and all that has been shared, what questions or thoughts do you leave with today?

Final Thoughts

Part 2 of the series flowed very well. Many participants that showed up did so because they got positive feedback about the first part of the series. Very organic and group was open to sharing.

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