Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is perhaps one of the most influential essays of the Civil Rights movement. It’s a masterpiece, blending theology, Greek philosophy, current events, and passion together effortlessly. It has all the power of the pulpit, but that power is tempered into a controlled, but passionate argument for equality and how continuing to accept inequality destroys not only the fabric of our social contract but also our human connections. I consider it one of the key documents for understanding what it means to be a US citizen. It’s just as important as the Federalist papers or Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” in defining how we should come to see ourselves in this country.