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Letter from a Birmingham Jail - Essay Example

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The Letter from Birmingham Jail refers to an open letter composed by Martin Luther King, an American civil rights leader. The letter was written on April 16th, 1963. Martin Luther King wrote the letter from a town jail in Birmingham, Alabama…
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Letter from a Birmingham Jail
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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Download file to see previous pages... King gave bits and pieces of the letter to his attorneys to take back to movement’s head office, where Reverend Walker started putting together and editing the legendary jigsaw puzzle. Martin Luther King's letter is a statement put out by eight white Birmingham clergymen on April 12, 1963, known as "A Call for Unity". King composed this letter in reply to that statement. The clergymen concurred that social unfairness existed in the United States, but argued that the fight against racial discrimination should be fought only in the courts, and not in the streets. The clergymen condemned Martin Luther King, referring to King as an interloper who creates problems in the streets of Birmingham. In reply to this, Martin Luther King referred to his principle that all states, as well as communities, were interconnected. King wrote that injustice in any place is a threat to justice in every place. People are caught in an unavoidable system of mutuality, tied in one garment of fortune. According to King, whatever concerns a person directly, concerns everybody indirectly. He said this to prove to the clergymen that anybody who resides inside the United States cannot be taken as an outsider. Martin Luther wanted to show his regrets about the protests that were taking place in Birmingham. He, however, felt that the African American people had no choice but to protest due to the way they were being oppressed by the whites. The clergymen, nevertheless, condemned the massive tension caused by the protests. In reply to this, Martin Luther King affirmed that he plus his fellow protestors were using peaceful actions so as to create tension that would put pressure on the wider society to face the matter head on. The protestors hoped to cause tension (King, 462). They hoped to create a non-violent tension that would lead to the development. This is as written down in King’s letter. King wanted to inform the clergymen that without peaceful forceful actions, proper civil rights could never be attained. The clergymen also condemned the timing of the protests. King, however, wanted to show the clergymen that they had waited long enough for these God given rights. Opposing the clergymen’s statement that the protest was against the law, King argued that not only was civil defiance justified in the face of undeserved laws but that everybody has a moral task of disobeying unfair laws. Luther’s letter contains the famous statement that stated inequality at any situation is a threat to impartiality everywhere (King, 462). Some of the various topics that King was trying to convey are: direct actions, civil rights as well as discrimination. According to King, direct action is a just form of political activism which seeks to remedy political, social as well as economic ills. Direct action is often urgent and challenging. It can contain such activities as workplace occupations, strikes, sit-ins, guerrilla warfare, and demonstrations among others (King, 462). Direct actions are sometimes a form of civil defiance and can contain illegal actions, but it is for the good of a society. King also wanted to show to people that racial discrimination is an ill-mannered culture and that everybody deserved to be treated equally. Finally, Martin Luther King was against deprivation of civil rights to the American citizens especially the African Ameri ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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