Free «Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King» Essay Sample

The letter from jail by Martin Luther King Jr. tells about the most quintessential miscarriage of justice that occurred due to the implementation of unjust laws. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter while he was confined at Birmingham jail. The letter was his response to his fellow clergy men as they called his actions unwise and untimely. The civil rights leader of the twentieth century sought to uphold his standpoint and explain the cause of his actions as they were aimed at eliminating the discrimination against the black people in what was officially known as the policy of segregation.

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Martin Luther King Jr. counters the criticism he received from the goodwill men in outright sincerity. In fact, he was against the status quo in regard to the segregation issue and fought for the freedom of the black people. Taking into account that they had waited three hundred and forty years to be granted their rightful, God-given, and constitutional rights, it was high time they received what they equally deserve. Thus, it was time to act following the example of other people such as those in African and Asian countries, who were moving towards attaining their political independence. Just like colonization, the policy of segregation hurt the black people extensively to the extent that the administration, the police in particular, made their life miserable.  In reality, policemen were full of hatred towards the black people, whom they harassed and even battered to death. Their living conditions were pathetic as well, especially housing. The way they lived was unacceptable in an affluent society. It was shameful that the African-Americans lived in impoverished, airtight, and cage-like housing units. Their social life was lamentable as well. For instance, parents face difficulties when they had to explain their children why they could not attend public parks.

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The families of the blacks had to put up with everyday challenges they encountered such as spending a night in a vehicle in uncomfortable positions during an overnight journey since motels did not allow black people to stay on their premises. All this was upheld due to the segregation policy, which made it a social stigma to be a black since African-Americans were  Martin Luther King Jr. claims that he is a law abiding person but a resolute opponent of unjust laws such as segregation. In essence, the segregation policy cannot be called “a law” since a law should be justified and should uphold the moral law of God. Every law should be in harmony with the moral law. Thus, any particular law that does not have roots in eternal and natural morality is unjust. Hence, the law of segregation is unjust since it leads to degradation and negligence of the human life. All segregation rules were founded on deceitful statutes and displayed the most barbaric distortion of the human personality. Thus, the segregation policy supporters were thriving in false superiority and discrimination of the black people. Describing the evil fate of the black people, Martin Luther appealed to the moral obligation to respect what is morally right and urged for the non-violent rebellion against all unjust policies and laws.

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As such, it was justified for the black people to take action given the circumstances. Martin Luther King Jr. maintained that the black people lost their patience and, out of despair, they decided to alter the status quo. Addressing his critics, Martin Luther expressed his optimism that they would eventually comprehend his legitimate and inexorable pressure. In addition, breaking of laws was justified by the nature of the policy, which falls under the category of unjust laws. Therefore, some actions had to be taken. Martin Luther asserted that the conservative whites were the most formidable obstacle on the way towards acquisition of the rights by the black people.  They moderated the negotiations, hence delayed justice for such an extensive period of time. The white people were afraid of changes, hence preferred negative peace at the expense of positive one, which was impossible due to the tension. The direct action had the intention of initiating negotiation by creating such a situation or rather a crisis that would inevitably wake up the community. The tension served as a tool to dramatize the issue that should have been resolved a long time ago. In this context, tension was a constructive kind of apprehension that fostered social growth. It was aimed at forcing conclusive negotiations that would eventually justify the need for nonviolent course of action taken by the oppressed.

Furthermore, it is known from the history that freedom has never ever been given voluntarily by the oppressor; hence, the oppressed ought to demand it. The timing of the actions taken in the quest for freedom of the black people could not have been perfect due to the recurring sensitive events. Yet, the period after elections seemed appropriate since the former administration and the new one had similar views in regard to the issue of segregation. Although the former administration chaired by Mr. Connor was defeated to the delight of the majority, that alone could not solve the issue of segregation; hence, the direct action was the only way-out. 

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