Letter from Birmingham Jail

Topics: Law, Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil disobedience Pages: 2 (832 words) Published: March 25, 2010
The struggle for civil rights and civil liberty by African American in the United States of America brought about some of the darkest days in American history. Till this day, majority of Americans regardless of race or color look back at that period with regret. Dr Martin Luther King, a prominent leader in the civil rights movement was persecuted by his oppressors but he persevered relentlessly in the fight for equal rights for African Americans mainly because we were fighting for a just cause. The letter from Birmingham Jail is a response by Dr King to statements by eight Alabama Clergymen denouncing the use of street protests by Dr King’s organization in the fight for civil liberty. Critics of Dr King’s philosophy on civil disobedience argue that the actions of his organization are well against civil law but in his letter, Dr. King tries to persuade the opposition about the relevance of street protests or civil disobedience in the fight for equality for all people. He expresses his opposition to segregation from a moral perspective, logical perspective as well as an emotional plea to sway an audience into action in a quest to achieve civil liberty and equal rights for Black people. Although the letter was a direct reply to the clergymen’s statements, it served a broader purpose by also reaching out to the large middle class which was composed mainly of moderate white Americans. In his response, Dr King uses a subtle and persuasive approach in an attempt to sway critics of his philosophical views on civil disobedience. By writing the letter, Dr Kings intent was to sway individuals who held opposing views from his, bringing all together to share an understanding. Knowing that the middle class comprises mainly of moderate Americans who are opposed to extreme views and actions and very much inline with religious beliefs and values, Dr Kings utilized this avenue to challenge the conscience of the group. Evidence of this is shown in the letter where he writes:...
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