Letter From Birmingham Jail, By Martin Luther King Jr.

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Since its early days as a nation, the United States has had a reputation for glossing over its mistreatment and oppression of people of color, especially African Americans. Not aiding matters is White Americans turning a blind eye to the injustices faced by minorities. Despite several advancements that have come since for POC in America, including the outlawing of segregation and the election of the first Black President, this country is still far from perfect when it comes to resolving racial issues. And even as remarkable black scholars and activists have been trying to reach out to Caucasian communities to make a difference, the message has yet to fully be comprehended 150+ years after the abolition of slavery and 50+ years following the …show more content…
Doing so will allow room to understand the struggle others face fighting for their rights. This was a major topic raised in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, where he reached out to white clergymen who had criticized his civil disobedience protest methods as counter-productive. In the letter, Dr. King reminded his fellow clergymen that at the time, the city of Birmingham, Alabama was a pariah of racial injustice, having recently elected yet another pro-segregationist mayor. After countlessly being told to “wait” for racial equality to manifest, King states that it is necessary to take nonviolent direct action, since “’wait’ almost always means ‘Never’” and that “justice too long delayed is justice denied” (King, 311). King also reminds the clergymen that black people have endured enough social hatred and injustice at the hands of white society, often at a loss to explain the situation to young black children (King, 312). Thanks to King’s efforts, along with those of white allies, the Civil Rights Act would be signed into law, abolishing segregationist Jim Crow …show more content…
Despite being a free northern state, Massachusetts had enforced the policy of returning black slaves, freed or otherwise, back to the south. Disgusted by this policy, Thoreau published “An Immoral Law” in his book Walden, openly criticizing the Massachusetts state government for enabling unjust behavior by forcing an innocent black man back to slavery. Thoreau goes as far as to compare his surroundings to living in hell, and calls out the indifference of fellow white residents (Thoreau, 253). Despite expressing his lack of trust in the government and having little faith that the judicial system would challenge such an immoral law, Thoreau’s passage proved to be a wake-up call that would lead to the Fugitive Slave Act to be lifted in Massachusetts. A champion of civil disobedience, his methods would influence future civil rights leaders such Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther

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