Letters from a Birgmingham Jail

926 Words4 Pages
In April of 1963, a group of African Americans, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched into downtown Birmingham, Alabama, to protest the existing segregation laws. This caused several clergymen of Birmingham to compose a letter appealing to the black population to discontinue their demonstrations because they were “unwise and untimely.” Imprisoned, as a result of the protest, for failure to obtain a license, Dr. King, used the time of his incarceration to create one of the most insightful, eloquent and poignant pieces of literature in American History. In responding to the clergy of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr King was speaking to the world. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is actually a rally cry intended to provoke the emotions of the oppressed and motivate them into action. Dr. King was a single voice speaking for millions of people. His actions solidified small protests, throughout the south, into a movement of epic proportions. One of the most significant issues King raises is the problem of indifference of the white Americans towards racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” creates a vivid picture of life during the civil rights movement. Illustrating both the injustices heaped upon the minorities in our society and the criticism that Dr. King, himself faced from other members of the clergy. In the letter, Dr. King justifies his actions and those of his followers as a necessary action to eradicate the injustices taking place in Birmingham, Alabama, "probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States"(King, 473) King uses the letter to identify the process that culminates with a nonviolent protest . By explaining his own agony and impatience, he is at the same time giving a description of the frustration of black people in general, and with the repetition and
Open Document