Letter From Birmingham

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Journal on ?Letter from Birmingham Jail? In today?s society, it is easy for one to be complacent with status quo. Like how the sun rises and sets each day, status quo offers stability and predictability. On the other hand, society tends to shun change because of its uncertainty. If we look back at the segregation of whites and blacks back in the 1960s, we can see that segregation of the two was the status quo in the South. So how did we invoke change to bring down the walls of racism? Well, a wise black man once said, ?freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.? This man, Martin Luther King Jr., in my opinion, was a leader in breaking down the walls of segregation. Although some viewed him as an extremist, King?s response, in his ?Letter from Birmingham Jail,? showed that he was indeed a peaceful man through his use of nonviolent campaigns to bring ?freedom? to his southern African Americans.

Why do some people view King as an extremist? Simply put, people do not understand why King believes in obeying some laws and disobeying other laws. The masses believe the laws are laws and should not be broken. Therefore, if one decides to obey only certain laws then that person may be cast as an extremist. According to King, there are two types of laws: just and unjust laws. He defines a just law as ?Any law that uplifts human personality is just.? He also defines an unjust law as ?Any law that degrades human personality.? King believes that segregation laws are demoralizing for African Americans so therefore those laws are unjust. He believes that King?s nonviolent campaign is made up of four basic steps. His...