Just and Unjust Laws in 'Letter from Birmingham Jail'

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Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”: Just and Unjust Laws Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a letter to eight white clergymen while he’s sitting in a jail cell, the result of a protest in Birmingham, Alabama that King, a Georgian, traveled to attend. Due to the criticisms of the clergymen, he commences his letter by explaining why he needed to come to Birmingham. King states that he was there for a multitude of reasons, the first being that he had organizational ties to Birmingham, the second being that he was there because there was injustice in Birmingham. He states that as a citizen of America, injustice in Birmingham is not removed from justice anywhere else because everything is interrelated, and that injustice…show more content…
He then refers to his earlier statement about the apathy of the clergymen regarding the reason for the demonstrations, alluding to their anxiety over the protesters willingness to break the law. However, he brings up a dichotomy: the laxness and rigidity in which different laws are enforced. Namely, he sarcastically refers to the apprehensive enforcement of the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation. Well, why are only some laws enforced? King answers this question by stating that there are two kinds of laws: just and unjust. The former is mainly characterized by one quality: morality. See, for a law to be just, it cannot be forced upon a specific demographic of the population by another; every demographic must have the opportunity for equal representation in the proposition of said law. Otherwise, there will always be a feeling of being acted-upon for the oppressed rather than collectively acting as a
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