Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Analysis of the Letter from Birmingham Jail
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. introduces the “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by mentioning, “While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities ‘unwise and untimely’"(para. 1). After he establishes why he is writing this letter he places the issue in context by stating, "But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms"(para. 1). Dr. King knows what is at stake by indicating, "I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what is happens in Birmingham...injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"(para. 4). Dr. King verifies that he wants everyone to see why his brothers and sisters are demonstrating in Birmingham. He states this by saying, "You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham...but your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations"(para. 5). The stance Dr. King took was that peaceful protest and marches were an outlet for his people to express their frustration. Dr. King says to his critics, "There comes a day when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair...I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience." The common ground Dr. King encourages is to do peaceful and nonviolent marches and protests. He details this in his letter by saying, "You are quite right in calling for negotiation...nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue"(para. 10). Dr. King promises that his direct action program is constructive, but nonviolent. In his letter he mentions this by...
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