February 16, 2015
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Kings voice is authoritative, strong, powerful, academic and sometimes dark when describing how segregation is leaving African Americans mistreated. An example is when King says “…twenty million negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.”
I believe Kings Thesis is addressing the difference between breaking unjust laws and obeying just laws. He talks about the difference between just and unjust laws and when it is morally right to breaks these unjust laws. King used direct action to bring attention to the community that negotiation needed to take place, in turn king got locked up for non violent action. Martin Luther King Jr. used St. Thomas Aquinas’, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law” to describe how these different laws work and how they are applied.
MLK Jr. was a very smart man and used his powerful voice to make a breakthrough in equality. In this letter he used charged language to make his point known in Birmingham.
Examples: “I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.” (396) “…freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” (398) “Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion too Gods will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion?” (401)
Questions for Discussion
4. Direct action differs from violence in the sense that you are able to accept the blows from the oppressor without retaliating. Direct action is a forming of negotiating, it seeks to create a ‘crisis’ and bring attention to the community;