Summary Of Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King

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In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr responds to his fellow clergymen criticism by arguing that all people have a moral obligation to fight injustice. He educates people about the racial tension and injustice in Birmingham to show that racism has influenced the rest of the United States. King also differentiates between just and unjust laws in order to justify civil disobedience and having to break the state’s law when necessary. He states that African Americans can no longer wait for justice but they must band together to argue for their rights in nonviolent way. King writes this letter to defend civil disobedience so that the racial injustice that African Americans have been enduring can come to an end. King wants …show more content…

His definition of a just law is that the man made law should agree with God’s law while an unjust law is defined as one that contrasts against God’s law. To King, a law should not degrade an individual by making them a minority along with not having to make a distinction between groups of people. He goes into this as he wants to explain that his actions of breaking the law and defend civil disobedience as justifiable in his case. He gives an example of when civil disobedience is reasonable by bringing up what was going on in Germany under Hitler. He states, “We can never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was illegal” (Par.18). During Hitler’s regime there were many unjust laws as the Nazi’s laws made the Jews a minority group that needed to be killed off. That is an unjust law and these laws were followed but that didn’t mean that they’re moral and therefore he considered it to be a moral obligation to ignore these laws and the same applies to the U.S. during the period of racial injustice. The U.S needs to realize how both these situations show that their laws are unjust and by bringing up this comparison, the people can understand the wrong of the laws and would therefore argue for change. Civil disobedience that occurred in Germany during that time was justifiable and so it can also be …show more content…

He goes on to point out that the government has been telling them to wait but he translates that to them saying that they will never get their rights. The promise set by the constitution that everybody should have rights has not been kept and that was three hundred and forty years ago which has been way too long and change needs to happen immediately. Although the Emancipation Proclamation got rid of slavery that hasn’t changed the way African Americans have been viewed as they still face racial inequality. He acknowledges that through this quote, “The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter” (Par.12). This metaphor emphasizes his point of how long African Americans have waited and how the government seems to be neglecting the fact that they need to change. It can be ironic how those two nations which aren’t as successful as the U.S.when it comes to the economy or their lifestyle can be more successful when it comes to the basic freedom of the people. African Americans need to take action and have the U.S go at the same pace as Asia and Africa to get to their goal of being free. America is a place that represents freedom and yet these racial problems have remained for

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