Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.

Submitted By aflyingmidget
Words: 752
Pages: 4

According to David Halberstam, the 50s was a time of peace and prosperity but the decade was in fact full of conflict and contradiction. The concerns the Blacks shared for racial equality became one of the main issues during this time. Under the Jim Crow laws, the Black community was reduced to second-class citizen status. Blacks could not vote, go to white schools, live in white neighborhoods, eat, drink, and play in the area as whites. In addition, assaults, intimidation, and lynching were common in the south. As a result of the growing discontent and tension, civil rights groups rallied against the discrimination Blacks endured through waves of protests and demonstrations. Martin Luther King Jr., a key figure in the civil rights movement, argues for racial equality and explains the injustices Blacks face in his essay, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.
A growing collection of civil rights groups spoke out against the racial inequality and injustice Blacks faced during the 1950s. They organized protests and demonstrations to bring attention to the discrimination they felt. Although the protests were non-violent onlookers reacted in a violent way and attacked the protesters (Colorado). Many Americans advocated for the protesters cause when they saw the brutal way they were being treated on television. Two major victories that the civil rights group accomplished is the breaking down segregation on both buses and schools (About).
One of the main issues King explains is the racial-fueled assaults Blacks experience. King points out that Birmingham bears the most unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches than in any other city in the nation. King calls attention to the injustice Blacks face from not only the American public, but also the unreliability of the police to follow up on such hate crimes. He uses this example to explain the need for “non-violent direct action”, informing the readers to the suffering of the Black community. Also, the non-violent direction action will create such a “tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.” (MLK 3). King brings forth the issue of racial injustice to the point where it cannot be ignored any longer. He likens the necessity of bringing tension to the ideas of Socrates who felt it is necessary to create tension in community that will help the oppressed “rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism” to the road of equality and freedom (3).
One of the criticisms King addresses in his essay is his willingness to break laws. He argues that he breaks laws, which he calls unjust, that deny Blacks from their rights. The segregation laws “are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality” (4). King argues that any law that humiliates the human personality to be unjust. The laws are not morally right and contradict the laws