Martin Luther King 's Letter From Birmingham Jail

1690 WordsOct 2, 20177 Pages
The 1960’s were a time of civil disobedience and protest against the inequalities in America. Specifically, in Birmingham, Alabama, in the year 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the racial inequalities in one of the most famous letters in America’s history: “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” This letter was sent to a group of Alabama clergymen who chastised King’s disobedience. The letter was written with the purpose to encourage these eight men to side with King. Martin Luther King Jr.’s knowledge of Christianity allowed him to successfully sway the clergy. King compared himself to Jesus, several famous people throughout history, and then condemns the clergy, using ethos based in religion. Emotions rooted in deep religion are the…show more content…
Jesus died for the sake of freedom, and Kind allowed himself to be jailed for a similar cause. He chose prison, just as Jesus chose death, for the greater good; he is reminding the clergy that he is simply following in Christ’s footsteps -- thereby not only guilting them, but also encouraging them to join his movement. While Jesus is the most influential person these clergy could hope to be, King does not fail to use other famous, and holy, people to his advantage. Amos, Paul the Disciple, Martin Luther, and John Bunyan all have two things in common; every man listed is a preacher of some sort, and they were all named by King. He states in his letter “Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience."” (King Paragraph 24). While this statement may not initially look like much, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that King is listing people he knows that the clergy also will have religious ties to. Amos has his own book in the bible, Paul was close to Jesus, Martin Luther was a famous pastor, and John Bunyan was a priest, and
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