A Letter from Birmingham Jail - Free Essay on Martin Luther King's Letter

Published: 2022-02-15
A Letter from Birmingham Jail - Free Essay on Martin Luther King's Letter
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Racism Social justice Martin Luther King
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 430 words
4 min read

In his letter, Martin Luther King directed his response to the white clergymen who had publicly condemned his actions in Birmingham, Alabama. The eight clergymen had proposed that demonstrations would not be led by black people, who were termed as outsiders. In this regard, Martin Luther's letter was a non-violent movement against injustice and segregation in the society against the black race, which depicts his character orientation as explained by Fromm's theory.

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Martin Luther wrote the letter as he was compelled to respond to the social injustices, which illustrates his character. In his work, he compared himself to Apostle Paul, who had traveled far from his homeland to spread the gospel of Christianity. King contends that civil rights in the society would be brought by the "tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers of God" (p.1). This is a productive character as explained by Fromm in his personality theory. According to the theory, a productive character refers to "a person who takes the negative feelings and then channels all his energy towards the productive work" (Cherry, 2019). Such people focus on building and nurturing relationships with other people. Although Martin Luther King faced segregation among the white reverends, he worked towards loving them and building meaningful relationships with everyone.

Martin Luther also demonstrates that his actions stemmed from the anxiety that was created by his desire for freedom of the black people. According to Fromm's theory, this desire is created by the "feelings of isolation which facilitates the productive and the unproductive orientation" (Cherry, 2019). As noted in the letter, King illustrated that the systemic racism that was prevalent in the Birmingham community left the black people with little alternative to the direct actions. In this regard, the only way to foster their opinions was through non-violent means, as he noted that he was ready to respond to them in "patient and reasonable terms" (p.1). Therefore, as illustrated by Fromm, King's character was as a result of isolation of the African Americans that necessitated the desire for social justice.

Conclusively, King's letter from Birmingham shows his character of positive protest against the racial segregation that had become prevalent in society. This personality trait is explained by Fromm's theory to be genetic and as well as learned from individual experiences. This character may have been learned from society, considering the social injustices and discrimination that people faced.


Cherry, K. (2019). Fromm's character orientations. Personality Psychology. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/fromms-five-character-orientations-2795956

King, M.L. (1963). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Retrieved from: https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

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A Letter from Birmingham Jail - Free Essay on Martin Luther King's Letter. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/a-letter-from-birmingham-jail

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