Martin Luther King's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
The basic reason for Martin Luther King’s imprisonment was his engagement in the violent acts against the segregation ordinances enforced by the government in Birmingham in 1960s…
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After the postponement of the march for three times, which was intended by Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists and various other senior members of Birmingham's economic community, it was executed on 12th April in 1963 in Washington (Flora & Et. Al., 2002). In this march he offered ‘one of the most famous speeches in American History’ titled as “I have a dream” that apparently and most certainly was against the segregation ordinances of the then government and thus was considered to be illegal and violent (Ross, 1963). Understanding that the speech shall result into severe violations of the government rules and therefore it was decided to imprison Martin Luther King and other superiors of Birmingham economic community engaged with the execution of the march (Sanders, 2007).
In his 8 days of imprisonment, Martin Luther King wrote his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. The letter was addressed to the ‘clergymen’ of Birmingham which was promptly published by the then most renowned newspapers and magazines being smuggled out of the jail (Flora & Et. Al., 2002). The letter demonstrated the segregated life of black citizens in Birmingham highlighting the differences enacted by the white ministers in the daily life of the nation. It apparently focused on the issue indicating what the ‘whites’ had achieved and what the ‘blacks’ did not. In its core substance the letter indicated to both, the ministry of Birmingham and the Christian as well as the Jewish community of the state. This can be well identified from the statements of Martin Luther King in his letter, “My Dear Fellow Clergymen” and “I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers” (King, 1963). To his verdict of breaking the laws enforced by the then ministry of Birmingham, Martin Luther King Jr. provided with a brief and subtle explanation that was again targeted towards the racial discrimination between whites and blacks or ‘Negroes’. He stated that his main motive was not to be against the laws enforced by the government, but disagree with the ‘unjust’ laws which were not in the favor of human personality. In the words of King (1963), “………at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws…there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws……Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong”. His argument regarding his act of breaking the
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