Letter from a Birmingham Jail Essay Questions
1. In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. invokes passages from “The Gettysburg Address,” The Declaration of Independence, and the Bible. Why do you think he references these sources? How do these sources help make his letter more powerful?
Dr. King Jr. wrote the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” after an unfair offer was made by eight white clergymen. Their claims were to be that no Negro “outsider” should be allowed to establish or lead any protest and should leave them to their local neighborhoods. I feel like he referenced these sources because they are well known by the people that would be reading this letter and it will make it easier for his readers to connect to what he is saying. Also all of these sources all talk about human equality in some way. The Gettysburg Address was a speech by Abraham Lincoln where he talks about bringing true equality to all citizens of the US and this speech was that in common with Dr. King’s letter. The Declaration of Independence of course is what this country was founded by. The very important line in it is the line that all “men are created equal” which is what Dr.King is talking about in his letter. Lastly the Bible was referenced because it is an religious book that well known in this country which talks about treating people right and equally just like Martin’s letter. These sources make his letter more powerful because these are major a document, moment, and book in our history that will bring up many different emotions in his readers. Also it will make people think about what this country was originally founded of all and how it is not living up to those ideals. That is why I think he uses them as sources in his letter. 2. Many critics of the Civil Rights movement urged Negroes in the U.S. to wait for their rights to be recognized. In “Letter from a Birmingham...