Essay Sample on Martin Luther King Jr's Letter from Birmingham Jail

Published: 2022-10-20
Essay Sample on Martin Luther King Jr's Letter from Birmingham Jail
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Martin Luther King Civil rights
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 680 words
6 min read

Martin Luther King came into the limelight when he was fighting for the civil rights of the black community in the United States. His fight included the use of non-violent mass movements which included the use of campaigns, walks and crusaded all of which were not violent. His moves were termed to be dangerous by the white man which resulted to several collisions between Martin Luther King's crusaders and the police, most of which never ended in favor of the latter (Thompson).

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The doctor underwent through several trying times some of which included police brutality and the bombing of his residential house. He received criticism from the white community and was termed to be an inciter, a person that did not love peace, and it is through these remarks that he got arrested for holding peaceful demonstrations. During his time in jail, the doctor of theology wrote a long comprehensive letter defending his actions of using a strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism. The letter was also a response made to the criticisms made by his fellow clergymen who agreed that social injustices existed, but those fights should be fought in court (Chenoweth Erica).

Martin Luther King responded in his letter responded on the criticisms on religious grounds where he argued legal, political and historical grounds. In his letter, he also addressed the oppression that black people including himself underwent throughout the country. King was arrested in Birmingham where he and his fellow activists were considered outsiders. This was a result of not coming from that country; however, the king responded by saying that he was invited into that city for injustice existed there, and since he was the president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he was bound to attend the invite for he served all and had to show support for the black community in Birmingham. According to king, Birmingham was the most racially divided city, which had the most brutal police officers and kangaroo courts (King Jr). King wrote saying that no who lives in the united states should be considered an outsider and that his response to go to Birmingham was for the sole reason that what affects one would affect another in a direct or indirect way. He then compares himself like the prophets most specifically Paul who left his home to go and spread the gospel in every village across the land. He too, King, just like Paul decided to carry the torch of freedom beyond his particular hometown. For being a leader also he had to respond the 'Macedonian' call of aid from his fellow black people (King Jr).

The clergymen disapproved the methods in which the doctor used which included marches from town to town; according to the clergy, this created tension. The doctor confirmed that he wanted there to be tension which could result in negotiations with the white power which according to him would result in true civil rights (Chenoweth Erica). This was the only way since previous attempts had failed.

The clergy did not approve the timing of the public actions, which the king defended by saying' justice delayed is justice denied. The clergy remarked that the demonstrations were illegal; however, King said that anything that disregarded the human personality was unjust and that is what should be considered to be unjust. Through this king was disappointed by the willingness of the clergy to support what was going on and in his own words said that ' shallow understanding from the people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from the people of ill will' (King Jr)

Works cited


Chenoweth, Erica, and Juliet Hooker. "The Civil Rights Movement and US Democracy: A Discussion of" Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed a Nation" By Jonathan Rieder." (2014): 716-719.

Thompson, Douglas E. "To Save the Soul of the Nation: Martin Luther King, Jr., Christian America, and the Religious Left." The Religious Left in Modern America. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 145-161.

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