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|Letter from Birmingham Jail PDF|
|No. Of Pages: 10|
|PDF Size: 60.5 KB|
|Source: The Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.|
Letter from Birmingham Jail Summary
In April 1963, in response to criticism of the peaceful protests in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. penned “A Letter from Birmingham Jail.” When eight white pastors issued a statement denouncing the protests as “unwise and premature” in a local newspaper, King sent a letter in response.
A tone of reasonable discussion is created early on in his letter when he refers to the clerics as “people of real goodness” and acknowledges the sincerity of their concern. In response to charges that he is an outsider, he informs his opponents that he was invited to Birmingham as the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to help the African American inhabitants in their battle for civil rights. “Because injustice is here, and like the Apostle Paul and other early Christians, I must respond to the cry for help,” he says. Because injustice is here.
Refusing to accept criticism that segregation laws should be challenged in the courts, King argues that only direct action can force the white majority to face racism head-on and engage in genuine discussion. Civil disobedience is a patriotic response to immoral and unjust laws precisely because King must write his letter from Birmingham City Jail because the protestors are breaking the law.
In addition to immediately replying to the clergymen’s objections, the King also makes his own judgements in his letter. According to him, white moderates are more harmful to the cause of racial equality than the Ku Klux Klan. Even though the moderates pretend to embrace the cause, he finds it repugnant that they refuse any and all direct action. In contrast to the white moderates of the South, he prefers to be labelled an “extreme for the cause of justice” rather than stand by and silently allow these injustices to remain.
Following this, King goes on to criticise the white church hierarchy for maintaining the existing quo. Churches, which once “changed the social mores of society,” are now “an irrelevant social club,” according to the author.The letter ends on an optimistic note, as King expresses his optimism that African Americans will win the freedom and equality for which they have fought so valiantly.Letter-from-Birmingham-Jail-PDF
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