"Letter from Birmingham Jail" Analysis

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MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” In August of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was imprisoned for refusing to wait for racial justice in Birmingham, Alabama. While King was in the Birmingham jail, a public statement was issued by eight white religious leaders of the south. This statement was a letter named “A Call for Unity”. In this letter, the clergymen urged activists to engage in local negotiations and use the courts if rights were being denied rather than protest. King knew that sometimes waiting makes things worse and by taking these inequality issues to the court, they would just have to wait even longer. King’s letter that was written in response to “A Call for Unity” states many reasons as to why waiting is not always the best way to get things done. In this article, the religious leaders say “a cause should be pressed in the courts and negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets”, but King knew better than that. He said “we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise”. The white world had promised King and the black world that they would be united. They were promised that after abolishing slavery they would be able to live in peace. They claimed that “We appeal to both our white and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense”, and by “we” they meant the court system. Birmingham was probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. King would have been laughed at and turned away if he would have taken this matter to court. He agrees with the article when it says that negotiation is a better path. He says, “The purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation” and that is not what negotiation would have done. It wasn’t the right time for negotiation. When is the “right time” to act when there are major
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