Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Essay by rodrigorulesCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2008

download word file, 4 pages 4.5

The American civil rights movement changed the way we live today. The movement sought for change in the way African-Americans had to live. African-Americans were under great oppression, from fellow citizens, local law enforcement, and the government's segregation. Subsequently, Martin Luther King Jr. inspired the civil rights movement, making himself one of the most inspirational civil rights leader of his time. King was arrested during a nonviolent protest in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting without a license. King is proud to serve his punishment because it was in good cause, but letters from his fellow clergymen in his hometown do not agree.

Martin Luther King Junior's letter from Birmingham jail is a powerful response to clergymen's opinions on his movement. King provides a very compelling persuasion, which may have convinced many "white moderates"(1) to reconsider their ignorance on the issue of segregation and racism. He continues to explain his opinions on just and unjust laws, stating that everyone has a moral responsibility to decide for themselves whether it is just to follow a law which goes against their beliefs.

King lays out the black communities stand at the time and efforts toward a movement, and describes the wide spectrum of different people each varying in opinion on whether or not their outcome is in their control. King's efforts are depicted in this letter to the clergyman as very persistent but at the same time very patient with his oppressors , and his discouragements with the church with which his fathers and their fathers depended on which enables readers to understand his previous position with the church.

King's purpose for writing this letter was to inform his wide audience on the reality of what was happening and to protest against the oppressors who insisted on referring to these incidents as unnecessary...