Global Issues Class "A Letter from a Birmingham Prison" by Martin Luther King: Was Dr. King right or the pastors?

Essay by thisguy42College, Undergraduate April 2006

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

I believe that the pastors had every right to write Dr. King a letter about their concerns, but in no way did they have to come down on him about his actions. I feel that Dr. King was right in those situations and he even tells the pastors his methods which seem ethical in my sense. Dr. King firsts explains to the pastors he's reasoning for being in Birmingham and that was because they had asked him to help out and because he had organizational ties in Alabama. He tells that pastors that there is injustice in Birmingham and he can't just sit back and let this happen. He states to the pastors that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The pastors told him they thought his actions were too extreme, but Dr. King lists the four steps of his nonviolent campaign. These four steps are collection of the facts, negotiation, self-purification, and finally direct action.

These steps seem reasonable and all though things didn't work the way he would have liked them they are steps that don't promote violence. I don't think Dr. King acted irresponsibly in that situation; in a time of racism and how the Negroes where treated it wasn't Dr. King's fault. Dr. King went through all the steps and nothing really happen. At one point in time he was able to talk to some city leaders about removing humiliating signs and as he states "as some weeks and months went by, we realized that we were victims of a broken promise." These humiliating signs were either put back up or no one took them down in the first place.

The pastors criticize King and his associates that the action they made was untimely and King responds back with...