While Confined Here In The Birmingham City Jail Essay example

Submitted By Anthony-Neri
Words: 2377
Pages: 10

“While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities ‘unwise and untimely’” (Atlantic, pg. 1). This quote is from Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which was targeted towards the clergymen who called him an “outsider”. For ones beliefs to be accused of being “unwise and untimely” should be a crime itself. The Constitution of the United States of America says every man has the freedom of speech. For a man’s words to be shackled for his color is exacerbating beyond belief. He was an outsider because he believed in the rights of all men. The Constitution also states that all men are created equally. But was King treated equally? No, instead, he was claimed to be “unwise and untimely” because him and the black community decided to stop being patient for change, and decided to catalyze change with a little nudge. King’s thought process was if we were all made equally, then why aren’t we all treated equally. This was the question he wanted answered. This is the question many African Americans, and Caucasian people, were protesting by his side for. This letter was composed during a time of social turmoil due to the injustice that was dealt towards blacks. King was penalized for his beliefs and actions and was imprisoned for them. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” basically killed the clergymen with kindness. King’s use of sarcasm, kindness, and urgency regarding his situation, along with the situation of the country, was delivered in a powerful message that helped open the minds and hearts of many people and instill in those people the ability to strive for change.
Growing up, King went to school in the Atlanta public schools, and after graduation from Morehouse College, he was ordained as a priest in the National Baptist Church. King married in 1953 and had a family which he moved to Alabama in 1960 where he became an Associate Pastor with is father at the Ebenezer Baptist Church (Bio pg. 2). As the head of an African American family King wanted a better life for his children. He did not want inequality to cast a shadow over their lives. Laws such as the Jim Crow Laws cast a huge shadow over all African Americans. They basically spelled out segregation. These laws made it impossible for blacks to reach their full potential in just about any situation (Segregation, pg. 4). They stirred up a lot of controversy in the black community and helped motivate King. Dr. King would soon find out that he could be motivated by many different events. All he had to do was walk out of his house and see or deal with inequality firsthand. One motivation Dr. King had was that Birmingham was, at that time, a place of injustice. Although injustice was just about everywhere, Martin Luther King Jr. knew that Birmingham would be a place that would get the attention of many, due to the corruption that had taken place there (Bio, pg. 2). He went there to visit the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in order to unite all communities and states under the idea of true freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man with a target on the back of his head. People did not like the fact of his protests because racism was at the time very relevant. He was the leader of many movements and saw injustice daily towards blacks. A few of King’s most commonly known movements were “The Selma March” and “The March on Washington”. All these movements had the same purpose; trying to tear down the structure of segregation and build up the structure of equality (Stanford, pg. 1). However, there were laws that helped put a damper on the lives of African Americans. A terrible battle was Plessy versus Ferguson of 1896. Plessy versus Ferguson jeopardized the safety of the black community. It had engraved the idea “separate but equal” in the minds of America. It required racial segregation in the public facilities. The facilities that belonged to the blacks were usually substantially less