Letter From Birmingham Jail, By Martin Luther King Jr.

849 words - 3 pages

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. one of many great influential speakers wrote a life changing letter after being arrested for peacefully protesting African American rights. While sitting in jail Dr. King received a letter from clergymen questioning his motives and timings for being in Birmingham. In a response Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writes a “Letter from Birmingham Jail” vividly expressing physical and emotional purposes for his presence in Birmingham, AL.
First, in the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s purpose is to show his fellow clergymen true imagery of how racism and segregation is affecting the citizens of Birmingham. Dr. King states, “There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community.” Considering how Negroes are being treated poorly in courts and having church bomb threats, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wants the clergymen to see that there is no denying that Birmingham is one of the most racist cities in the United States. “Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths … must we … create the kind of tension in society that helps men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism.” Through a powerful quote from a classical Greek philosopher Dr. King is showing the clergymen that he has no reason for violent campaigning; rather his purpose is to have peaceful “Direct-action programs” to give oppressed people the right to fight for their “Constitutional God-given rights”. “When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers… when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters… when you finally find yourself stammering to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park, … [then] perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait.”
Second, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expresses his views for obeying “Just” laws, while disregarding “Unjust” laws because of moral purposes. In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King speaks on how he “Urge people to obey laws,” as well as “urge them to disobey segregation ordinances”. “I agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” Dr. King’s reason for following certain laws and not others is because he believes there are two types of laws. Just laws are beneficial to all races and “Is the man-made code that squares with the moral law or the Law of God”, unjust laws neglects certain human races...

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