How Did King Jr Create Tension In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and sent to jail for protesting the treatment of African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama. Incarcerated, he wrote a letter in response to the Clergymen’s letter in which he wrote his thoughts and justified what many saw as an act that was “unwise and untimely” (King 2). King believed that people were born with the right to freedom and that he was trying to regain that right even though he continued to put it off. He finally saw that he could put it off no longer because of the broken promises and the time he was wasting. His being in Birmingham was brought by the injustice he believed to be there that was far greater than any other place. He includes in his letter that “injustice anywhere is a threat …show more content…

He first begins with justifying his being in jail like Socrates did as he was in jail for allegedly corrupting the young. As King is fighting for freedom in a respectable manner, he is also corrupting the laws that the Whites set-forth to segregate them. He brings up the argument that “Socrates felt it was necessary to create tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisals, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to ride from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood” (King 4). King does just that when he questions the morality of the laws that were put into place only to preserve the rights of Whites and not of the African Americans. As Socrates did, King tries to find a way that makes a law just and unjust. He is able explain that just laws were built to uplift human …show more content…

He questions their faith and the type of religion they follow. As he continues to go through this doubt, his views that are similar to Rousseau and Mill become evident. “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains” (Rousseau 1) is what King tries to point out when trying to protest for his rights as an American and as a man of color. The chain of racism is what is limiting the freedom of man. Rousseau talks about the topic of voting, in which people come together to vote for those who they believe will be able to speak on their behalf and to set laws that they believe will help the people as a whole. In a sense, they give up their individualistic thinking and think as a group. King questions the kind of people that voted for these laws and if they were intended to be for the good of the people. In the social contract, the government is legitimate if consented by the people. In this case, the government would serve to protect but King questions if the laws were democratically elected and states that because African Americans weren’t able to vote for such a government, they have no obligation to obey such

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