Analysis of Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

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Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and Civil Rights in America On April 3, 1963 a movement began all over the skirts of Birmingham, Alabama with the ultimate goal of raising national awareness over the issues of racial segregation in America. This campaign was orchestrated by Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and Southern Christian Leadership Conference of which Martin Luther King Jr. was president of. These demonstrations had the objective of awakening America to an injustice that was occurring all over the south, and they would do this through the means of non-violent movements which included coordinated marches and sit-ins all over the city of Birmingham. A week into the campaign a circuit judge by the name of W.A. Jenkins put into play a blanket injunction against the protestors that barred “parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing, and picketing”. Leaders of the movement firmly rejected to obey this injunction and they, along with all those who were a part of this campaign continued on. On April 12, at the peak of the campaign, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in a somewhat violent manner along with some notable other such as Ralph Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth. He would then spend time in the harsh confinements and conditions of the Birmingham Jail, where he would right arguably the most powerful letter of all time involving Civil Rights.

An ally of Dr. King managed to sneak in a newspaper from April 12, in which it contained an article that made a “Call to Unity”. This article was made based on the statements Lizama 2
of eight white Alabama clergymen that opposed Dr. King and his perspective influenced methods. This, along with what Dr. King described as being alone in a “narrow jail cell, thinking long thoughts and praying long prayers”, is what drove him to manifest such a powerful and

influential piece of writing. It is clear in my opinion that Mr. King was very disturbed by the accusations of the white clergymen on his actions, seeing as the letter is filled with very many statements of disappointment and frustration from him. But it is also my opinion that Dr. King’s intentions of this letter were not to lash out or ridicule their tainted perspective on Civil Rights or colored people for that matter, but to offer a bridge of peace between two societies divided by color, class, and ideology by providing the perspective and point of view of the colored man. I can understand from this that King wanted to try a different approach of getting his message and ideals across towards the segregationists by comparing the Civil Rights era to other supremacist over inferior situations and conveying a feeling of “you have nothing to lose by thinking about it” and “we will love you even if you hate us”. Many times in this letter he referred to other historical and religious examples of inferior races but none other most impacting then that of the Nazis and the Jews. He talks about the actions of the Third Reich toward the Jewish race and what I got from this is that he doesn’t directly compare the heinous actions of the Nazi Party and them killing the millions of Jewish people that they did, but he does connect it. In a sense he gives you the feeling that the same mentality and animosity that the Third Reich had towards the Jews, could be seen in the way that white supremacists in the south directed themselves towards the African American people. In my opinion he was very smart to bring this example up because he sort of won over any Jewish white people that perhaps at the time viewed black people

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through a supremacist’s mentality or that evaded from having anything to do with the Civil Rights Movement at the time, and I saw that he attempts to make a personal connection with the

Jewish people by calling them his Jewish brothers. He played a sympathy card, for better or less words, which probably also convinced anyone that had special ties with the holocaust or had...
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