Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and came from a religious family. He attended segregated public schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated high school at the young age of 15 years old. He was a well educated man and in 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In April 1963 he was invited to Birmingham, Alabama to take place in non-violent demonstrations against segregation.
Dr. King found himself imprisoned for civil disobedience in Birmingham, Alabama. While imprisoned he decided to reply to a letter that was sent by eight fellow Clergymen. In this “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King claims the need for civil disobedience. He supports this claim with several explicit points of argument.
The Clergymen had addressed their concern for the willingness of Dr. King and his followers to break the law. They were concerned with the fact that the segregated would only follow laws to which benefited them. Addressing this concern Dr. King gives the explicit point of “There are just and there are unjust laws.”(parag.13). Dr. King provides anecdotal evidence by referring to Saint Augustine who said, “An unjust law is no law at all.” He further supports this point by explaining the difference between a just and unjust law, arguing that a just law squares away with our inner moral code and the code of God. Providing the example of Saint Thomas Aquinas to explain what make a law unjust he states, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”(parag.14). Dr. King points out that a law can be just but that same law may be unjust in its application. One of histories’ most memorable events when this took place was in Germany during WWII. Hitler had made many laws that were consider “legal” in Germany, while everything the freedom fighters did was “illegal” (parag.20). What better example of how the application of a law can change whether or not that the law is just?
Not only does all of this support the cause of why some laws must be disobeyed, but it also supports Dr. King’s claim that segregation is unjust. To further support this claim Dr. King brings up the explicit point that “segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.”(parag.14). Explaining that segregation creates a felling of superiority to the segregator and a felling of inferiority to those who are segregated. Paul Tillich had gone as far to say that “sin is segregation.” Ending this portion of the argument with the strong words, “I can urge men to disobey segregation ordinance because they are morally wrong.” (parag.14)
Dr. King addresses the issue that a lot of people are against segregation, but they refuse to do anything about it and keep telling the segregated to “Wait!” The time has not come for segregation to end, they would say. He expresses his frustrations with the white moderate who all…