Analysis of Letter from Birmingham by Martin Luther King Jr.

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Analysis of Letter from Birmingham by Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr., is one of the most recognized, if not the greatest civil rights activist in this century. He has written papers and given speeches on the civil rights movement, but one piece stands out as one of his best writings. “Letter from Birmingham” was an intriguing letter written by King in jail in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. He was responding to a letter written by eight Alabama Clergyman that was published in a Birmingham Alabama newspaper in 1963 regarding the demonstrations that were occurring to stop segregation. The intended audience for this letter was of course the eight clergymen, but he also had a wider audience in mind because instead of
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In the course of the letter, King uses philosophical, religious and historical examples to get his points across. In the third paragraph he compares his participation in Birmingham to that of the prophets of the eighth century and the Apostle Paul who also traveled to a foreign place to communicate their messages. Since King is also a man of the cloth (reverend) he is able to use these biblical characters in his letter to illustrate his knowledge of the bible and by justifying his actions on their terms he is also able to show his intelligent. In the next few paragraphs he talks about the demonstrations and the four steps in a nonviolent campaign which consist of collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-purification and direct action. He goes on to give the facts of the injustices occurring in Birmingham such as their record of brutality, Negro's unjust treatments in the courts and the unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches. He tells them that the Negro leaders had indeed tried to negotiate in good faith but the white leaders refused. In the next negotiations, promises were made so the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to postpone all demonstrations, but soon realized that they were lied to. In paragraph 10, King foresees the questions that are
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