Essay on Letter from Birmingham Jail

746 WordsApr 20, 20133 Pages
Carla Del Toro Mrs. Boven ENGL 1301.22 03-21-2013 Letter from Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in response to his fellow white clergymen who criticized his actions that landed him in jail. He used Biblical examples to show that his nonviolent actions were necessary for African Americans to move forward in this country. This letter was mainly directed to those religious leaders who have the power to do something about segregation but don't. The purpose is to hopefully get the backup from powerful religious leaders and end segregation. He communicates this message very effectively to these men from his examples from Saint Paul and King Solomon, which is preached within the churches of these…show more content…
African Americans have undergone unimaginable hardships in this land and were powerless to effect change in the system with their vote. I find this to be great injustice. Another example of injustice in this reading is King’s arrest. He writes, “I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance, which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and deny citizens their First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.” As King explains how a just law can become unjust through capricious or malicious application, I find myself confused by the situation. African American citizens are struggling for the equality America was founded on, and these people are being arrested for improper parading. After exhausting many other approaches, African Americans moved to peaceful protest and even that was stifled. I find myself asking where else were they to turn, how else could they effect change, and where is their justice? Would anyone have blamed Dr. King for being angry with his situation? I doubt it. King made a wise choice to remain optimistic, to address those who questioned his motives with reverence. In fact, he defines how he will respond to his critics in the opening paragraph of his letter: “I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.” This statement demonstrates King’s commitment to

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