A letter of birmingham jail analyse
This convinced the African American community that they needed to take direct action through civil disobedience. He reminds his readers of the history of civil disobedience, which harkens back to the early Christians that resisted the unjust laws of Nebuchadnezzar and the Roman Empire, all the way to the Boston Tea Party, one of the foundational acts of civil disobedience in American history.
Letter from birmingham jail main points
The means by which he addresses the clergymen confirms this deliberate purpose. King makes the point that people can only take so much oppression and hatred towards them until they feel the need to take action. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations King then addresses the description of the protests as extreme, arguing that he and the SCLC fall somewhere in the middle, between African Americans who have become complacent and have no desire to fight for their freedom, and the black nationalist groups that are consumed by bitterness and hatred of whites. Martin Luther King Jr. These connections help to build community with his critics: the protesters are also Americans and members of the church, and should not be viewed as enemies. His most prominent argument was that of quoting past religious figures to support his claim that it was time for the Negro community to act and demand justice for their people. The letter was written in April of , a time when segregation was essentially at a peak in the south. This letter allowed King to not only propose a. The first paragraph of the letter refuses to take the high ground, and stipulates the goodwill of the clergymen who wrote the initial attack on King and the SCLC. This was in light of the fact that he was from Atlanta and some of his critics, therefore, considered him an outsider to Birmingham. Active Themes Yet even when the police have conducted themselves nonviolently in public, King argues that this is not worthy of praise, either. King addresses in the letter is the reason why he is in Birmingham city. King asserts that his presence in Birmingham is as a result of a direct invitation by some affiliated organizations across the South. King indeed began writing it while locked in solitary confinement, on scraps of paper smuggled to him.
Analysis It is easy to fall into hyperbole when discussing Dr. The letter was written in April ofa time when segregation was essentially at a peak in the south.
That it so successfully manages its tone is all the more impressive when we recall that Dr. Active Themes To give his readers an idea of the racial injustice African Americans have experienced, King offers a list of injustices.
King continually asks himself if he has been too optimistic in his hope that the church would act and try to create change in the south. King asserts that the goal of the protests is to create an atmosphere of discomfort for whites in Birmingham.
Letter from birmingham jail summary essay
He explains that the African American residents of Birmingham invited him, and needed his help organizing a direct-action campaign to fight the racial injustice in the city. When these leaders praise the police for preventing violence, they are only concerned about violence against white citizens. He delivers the message in a way with sneaky superiority. King describes the white moderate as complacent, hypocritical, and condescending toward African Americans, agreeing on the surface with their overall goals freedom, political participation, and equality but unwilling to take any steps to fulfill them. The question of time comes up often in the struggle for civil rights, and King dedicates a large portion of his letter to responding to this issue from the African American perspective. Martin Luther King Jr. He takes issue with this commendation for two reasons: first of all, King argues that these white leaders have not seen the violent treatment of African Americans that hardly merits commendation, like physically abusing men, women, and children, and refusing them food in the city jail. He wrote this letter to counter the statements made by the clergymen of Alabama, and accomplished his goal by touching every aspect of the audience he could including, emotions, logic, and ethics. By making a claim in each of these appeals, King created a path to change the mind of everybody in his audience. Throughout the whole letter, King appeals to many different kinds of people, which is why his efforts and this letter were so important in the change of society in the South.
In fact, the audience should be understood as universal man, as filtered through the clergymen to whom it is most directly addressed.
In his praise, King shows his confidence in the righteousness of his cause and his belief that while he may not see the end of segregation, he knows history will be on his side.
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