Progress Is a Process: an Analysis of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Crow laws Pages: 4 (1235 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Progress Is A Process: An Analysis of “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”
When the fifty-six members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration Of Independence in 1776 they never could have imagined the many revolutionary trials and challenges that the document’s significance of equality would ensue in years to come. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which allowed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free. The proclamation became a turning point in the aspirations of the African American race. The end of the Civil War in 1865 effectively ended slavery but did not openly give way for African Americans to have equal rights. The continuous struggle and persistence of the African American people lead to Jim Crow Laws that made them into second-class citizens. These laws dug deep holes for legal segregation between the races of black and white. To counter these laws the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed to increase racial equality and challenge such issues formed by segregation. One of the main leaders in this Civil Rights Movement of the N.A.A.C.P. was Martin Luther King Jr. He was able to prove to the African American people that he was committed to the dream of equality by not only continuing the fight after facing adversity when his house was fire-bombed, but by also speaking his mind to the eight clergy men that wrote about his actions in “A Call For Unity.” King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” was written while he was incarcerated and came to be one of the biggest turning points for the African American struggle for racial equality. By systematically rebutting the assertions made by the clergymen, King was able to portray his personal views and suffrage-based opinions on segregation so that they could realize the injustice being inflicted on the African American people and choose their position toward justice or continued injustice.

The clergymen stated that Kings...

Cited: King, Martin Luther. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” 1963. African Studies Center.
Ed. Ali B. Ali-Dinar. University of Pennsylvania. Web. 15 Jan. 2009.
Carpenter, C. C. J. et al. "A Call for Unity." The Estate of Martin Luther King. Stanford
University. 12 April 1963. Web. 15 Jan. 2010.
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