Letter From Birmingham Jail

Topics: Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr., African-American Civil Rights Movement Pages: 2 (504 words) Published: November 30, 2013

A.P. United States History
Letter from Birmingham Jail
By: Martin Luther King Junior
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” is written during the 1960’s when the African-American society is struggling for civil rights. This letter was written about five years after the Montgomery bus boycott. This bus boycott was sparked after Rosa Parks, a black and educated seamstress, boarded a bus and sat in the “Whites Only” section. Martin Luther King Jr. emerged after the yearlong boycott and is one of the most known leaders of the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. was in Birmingham to combat injustice against blacks. After a demonstration, King and other African-American civil rights activists and leaders were detained in the Birmingham city jail for “parading without a permit”. While in jail, King received a letter of criticism from his fellow religious leaders. King decided to address the criticism because he “feels that the criticism was sincerely set forth”.

In his letter, King was trying to convey the struggles faced by African-Americans during this time and the urgency for change. I believe that King did a fantastic job conveying this. In one section, he describes how segregation impacted the black society. At one point, King talks about his, at the time, six-year-old daughter and says, “… see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards white people…” This shows that segregation even affects younger children. If I was growing up as an African-American during this era, I wouldn’t have had the simple privileges, like going to the movie theater, and I could guarantee that I would have despised it.

What impacted me the most from this letter was the fact that everyone was affected by segregation. Until I read “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, I hadn’t realized that segregation affected children as much as it did. I knew that white and...
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