Being a highly educated civil rights activist, a fellow minister, and the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King declared his knowledge and experience as proof that he had the authority to speak on the issues. He strategically used biblical and historical references to expose the reality that segregation, injustice, and racism still strongly existed in Birmingham. Though it was an open letter to all Americans, his intended audience was the eight white clergymen. He presented them with concise reasoning for why they too should take action, or face the dilemma of being immorally incorrect in their beliefs.
So if segregation is morally wrong, it can’t be a just law and Dr. King looks at it as being acceptable to violate the segregation ordinances because it is an unjust law. Another example of an unjust law is when a larger group creates a law that the smaller group couldn’t have a voice in because obstacles prevented them from voting. At the time period different methods kept Negros from becoming registered voters. In other words it wouldn’t be fair to say the governing body that enacted the segregation laws were voted in by the majority, when a large portion didn’t a have voice in the matter. King argued it was justifiable to break this law because a law couldn’t be just when the Negro communities weren’t given the same rights to vote on the segregation laws.
On April 16th, 1963, after being thrown in jail for protesting segregation in the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist and pastor, in his letter entitled Letter from Birmingham City Jail, urges for social equality in America and justifies his use of nonviolent protest. He supports these claims by first stating his people will gain freedom because freedom is an American right as well as a God-given right, then explicates how the methods of law enforcement are unjust because any protection of segregation is immoral, and finally claims all of the people who have made sacrifices on the path to a segregation-free America will be the people to unify the country. Through King’s use of tone,
Which brings me to my second question; “How can (we as) citizens distinguish between just and unjust laws?” “Is it by morals or values that play a role?” I believe that just laws are rules of morals, ethics, and virtues of an individual given when they are born (otherwise known as natural rights) no one can take those rights away. However, unjust laws are rules that strip individuals of their rights and leave them completely vulnerable to unfair, cruel, and inhumane treatment by the state or federal government. For example, in the southern states during the 1950s and 1960s the black people were denied their right to vote because the state barred them by using methods such as the grandfather clause, poll taxes, and literacy tests.
Dr. King’s way of speech in “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” starts off with, “My Dear fellow Clergymen,” which seems oddly reserved. He had learned that Birmingham clergymen had issued a declaration critiquing him and flattering the city’s narrow-minded police influence, when Dr. King had been in solitary quarantine. Due to this, anyone could agree that Dr. King had every right to write an enraged letter. However, his topic was not to go off on this matter, but to explain himself. Thus, Dr. King starts his letter with “fellow clergymen,” which depicts the main idea of his argument, which is “brotherhood.”
Dr. King wrote the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in response to a letter written by the Eight Alabama Clergymen who were protesting the progress of desegregation in Birmingham through peaceful acts by the Negro community. King responds to the eight clergymen in a respectful but yet stern and intelligent way. The clergymen expressed that they felt the Negro community 's actions were untimely, unwise, and disrespectful. The clergymen felt that these ethnic issues should be addressed in a court room and not on the corner. Although they understood where King was coming from, they felt like these actions would result in violence.
He strongly feels that it is unjust to put a man in jail just to deny him his freedom of peaceful protest. The whites know and as well as himself knows that he is being wrongly accuse and he doesn 't deserve this unjustness. As well as appealing to ethos his character in this paragraph establishes that he is one of knowledge, he analyzes and argues in a manner that is striking. An example is when king puts into play that he agrees with laws but then says he will not stand for a law that is wrongly used to deny him his
Martin Luther king Jr. was one of the most influential people during the Civil Rights era and was responsible for changing the lives of all African Americans in America. He was a leader of his time; on a mission to gain freedom from segregation and derivation of rights for all minorities in the south. As a Political Leader, Martin Luther King Jr. had many followers, but just the same, he also had criticizers. In his letter addressed to the Clergymen titled “Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)”, Martin Luther King Jr. speaks as the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Council and answers to questions and concerns of his participation and demonstration of nonviolent actions against political wrong doings that resulted in the imprisonment of Martin Luther King Jr. and several other protestors. Martin Luther King Jr. felt the need to address the concerns of his criticizers who thought that his actions were misguided and impetuous.
In, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. justifies why he and the SCLC came to Birmingham which was to protect and fight for everyone’s rights. King concludes that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King, 2). He feels a connection to and a responsibility for everyone who has to face “injustice” since, this in reality is segregation and racism. Furthermore, he justifies that breaking laws, if they are unjust, embraces extremism. Overall, King had to take action since it is clear that nonviolent protest was ineffective
Another issue that was mentioned in your speech was about police brutality. African Americans fear the knowledge that police brutality towards other African American victims is happening around them. Like you said, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” Police brutality has gotten milder but it 's still out there and to be honest, you would like how the world turned out.
Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail addresses his fellow clergymen and others who critiqued him for his actions during this time. The clergymen along with others are addressed in an assertive tone allowing them to fully understand why his actions are justified. Throughout the letter critics are disproved through King’s effective use of diction and selection of detail. Martin Luther King opens the letter stating that the clergymen are being “influenced by the argument of ‘outsiders coming in” consequently he explains the reason for him being in Birmingham. In the opening of his explanation he states the injustices occurring, relating it to the prophets of eighth century B.C.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which was written in April 16, 1963, is a passionate letter that addresses racial segregation and all the injustices to the black American society. He writes this letter as a response to the eight clergymen, but it also became one of the most influential letters in defense of nonviolent movement ever written. Birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in the country and the most violent. Even after segregation was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954. In Birmingham, white and black Americans were very much separate with “white only” hotels, restaurants, and even bathrooms.
Analysis of “Letter from A Birmingham Jail.” “Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively” (MLK 5). On April 12th, 1963 eight Alabama Clergymen made a public statement regarding Martin Luther King, Jr.’s protests in Birmingham. They referred to the protests as unwise, untimely, and as an act to precipitate violence. They ask for the Negro community to withdraw support from the protests, stating that they are counterproductive to creating peace in Birmingham.
By analyzing statements of Dr. King’s word, his words shows very powerful message across the nations because his strong words motivated people to choose right path and fight for their rights. He states that the person, who breaks laws through non-violence, shows the greatest respect for the laws. By his statement, I believed that Dr. King. trying to shows an individual who follows the rule of civil disobedience will greatly shows the respect for laws; even though an individual will punish by the worse consequences. A person who has to willing to accept the result from the direct actions, self-purification. Negotiation, than she /he will be loyal to the rules
Martin Luther King, Jr. attempts to persuade clergymen to follow in his civil rights movement through exhibiting his knowledge over just and unjust laws, displaying peaceful behavior, and empathetic diction. King was very knowledgeable about laws and his right as a human. King stated laws in his letter to the clergymen, which displayed his credibility. He did not only state laws, he also stated just and unjust laws. King stated, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”