Themes In Letter From Birmingham Jail

718 Words3 Pages
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was a powerful and eloquent letter that effectively argued the point that segregation is fundamentally unjust and should be fought with nonviolent protest. This letter, through describing the injustice taking place during the civil rights movement also provided some insight about Dr. King’s view of the government in the 1960s. Three mains themes present in Dr. King’s letter were religion, injustice, and racism. Dr. King repeatedly used the first theme, religion, to support his arguments throughout the letter. For instance, he used a religious comparison to explain his presence in Birmingham, saying “just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel…show more content…
In general, the idea of justice was key in Dr. King’s letter, as he explained that his actions were essentially driven by his desire for justice, in this case in the form of racial equality and desegregation. Finally, racism was a major theme, and it was even the cause of the letter’s writing. For example, Dr. King said that though “it is unfortunate that so-called demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham at this time, but . . . it is even more unfortunate that the white power structure of this city left the Negro community with no other alternative” (78), describing how it was racism that forced his actions which led him to be jailed. Dr. King further described the immense racism present at the time by noting that “There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in this nation” (78). In his, letter, Dr. King seemed rather dissatisfied with the local government, particularly the one of Birmingham, Alabama. He openly expressed his desire “to see Mr. Conner [a local official] defeated [in an election]” (79), and even though after the election, Connor was replaced by a man named Boutwell, Dr. King said “While Mr. Boutwell is much more articulate and gentle than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to the task of maintaining the status quo” (79), describing his continued dissatisfaction with the local government. Though Dr. King disliked the
Open Document