African American and Martin Luther King Essay

Submitted By theairbert
Words: 671
Pages: 3

On Good Friday in 1963, 53 blacks, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched into downtown Birmingham to protest the existing segregation laws. All were arrested. This caused the clergymen of this Southern town to compose a letter appealing to the black population to stop their demonstrations. This letter appeared in the Birmingham Newspaper. In response, Martin Luther King drafted a document that would mark the turning point of the Civil Rights movement and provide enduring inspiration to the struggle for racial equality. Martin Luther King's “Letter from Birmingham Jail” strives to justify the desperate need for nonviolent direct action, the absolute immorality of unjust laws together with what a just law is, as well as, the increasing probability of the “Negro” resorting to extreme disorder and bloodshed, in addition to his utter disappointment with the Church who, in his opinion, had not lived up to their responsibilities as people of God. King's justification to the eight clergymen for protesting segregation begins with a profound explanation of their actions, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue”. The actions of the African American people are overdue and very well planned as King had explained in the letter. Their quest was to force the white politicians to negotiate and actually heed the requests for desegregation. As King explains, “past promises have been broken by the politicians and merchants of Birmingham and now is the time to fulfill the natural right of all people to be treated equal”. Violence is not what King wants, he simply wants unjust laws to change and the Supreme Courts 1954 ruling to be upheld. Secondly, King’s answer to the clergymen's assertion that breaking the law is not the way to achieve the results the African American is looking for. “Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that, an unjust law is no law at all”. King does not feel that they have broken the law, his definitive answer to the clergymen is that a law that is not morally sound is not a law. Laws are made to protect the people not degrade and punish. As far as King is concerned, the African American will continue to do whatever is necessary, preferably non-violently, to obtain the legal and moral right that is theirs. If they are not allowed this peaceful expression of the needs they so desire, it could lead to a much uglier action. Dr. King expressed his concern that if something is not done with…