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Letter from Birmingham Jail


The battle for civil liberties and civil liberty by African American in the United States of America produced a few of the darkest days in American history. Till this day, bulk of Americans despite race or color look back at that duration with regret. Dr Martin Luther King, a prominent leader in the civil liberties motion was maltreated by his oppressors but he stood firm relentlessly in the fight for equal rights for African Americans generally because we were fighting for a simply trigger.

The letter from Birmingham Prison is a reaction by Dr King to declarations by eight Alabama Clergymen knocking the use of street demonstrations by Dr King’s organization in the fight for civil liberty. Critics of Dr King’s viewpoint on civil disobedience argue that the actions of his company are well versus civil law however in his letter, Dr. King attempts to convince the opposition about the significance of street protests or civil disobedience in the fight for equality for all individuals.

He reveals his opposition to partition from a moral perspective, sensible viewpoint as well as a psychological plea to sway an audience into action in a quest to achieve civil liberty and equal rights for Black individuals. Although the letter was a direct reply to the clergymen’s statements, it served a broader function by also reaching out to the big middle class which was composed mainly of moderate white Americans. In his reaction, Dr King uses a subtle and persuasive technique in an effort to sway critics of his philosophical views on civil disobedience.

By writing the letter, Dr Kings intent was to sway individuals who held opposing views from his, bringing completely to share an understanding. Understanding that the middle class consists of mainly of moderate Americans who are opposed to severe views and actions and quite inline with faiths and worths, Dr Kings utilized this avenue to challenge the conscience of the group. Proof of this is displayed in the letter where he composes: “Need to make 2 truthful confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers.

Initially, I should admit that over the past couple of years I have actually been seriously disappointed with the white moderate. I have actually practically reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s excellent stumbling block in his stride towards liberty is not the White Resident’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who chooses a negative peace which is the absence of stress to a favorable peace which is the existence of justice; who continuously states: “I agree with ou in the goal you seek, but I can not agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically thinks he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical principle of time and who constantly encourages the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from individuals of excellent will is more frustrating than absolute misconception from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is a lot more overwelming than straight-out rejection. “(M. L.

K, 1963, April 16) This reveals that he is in touch with the views of his audience offering him the capability to make a terrific influence on the reader. The opposition held the view that civil disobedience and street demonstration were unfair, simply because it protested the law. Laws are concepts and regulations that are developed in a community by some authority and applies it individuals. I believe that argument presented by Dr King’s opposition is that there is no justification to breaking a law.

However, in my opinion there might be ethical validations in breaking a law depending on the nature of the situation. Thus, I concur with Dr King’s philosophical view on civil disobedience. “To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjustified law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human character is simply. Any law that deteriorates human personality is unjust.

All segregation statutes are unjustified because partition misshapes the soul and damages the personality. “(M. L. K, 1963, April 16) The African American civil liberties motion utilized civil disobedience as a method of getting their voice heard by the masses and opposition. Those protests are understandable from a moral standpoint in that African Americans unjustifiably had their rights denied by their oppressors and used civil disobedience as a means to acquire their God-given rights.

According to my beliefs, it is unethical to break the rule of law without legitimate requirement but it is ethically reasonable to do so in due cause such as the case of Dr King and the African American Civil Rights motion. Accordingly, there is likewise a rational perspective to civil disobedience which Dr King also utilizes eloquently in his letter. He addressed the declarations made by the clergymen which called his actions “ill-advised and unforeseen”.

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