Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Essay by MerunkaCollege, UndergraduateA-, October 2005

download word file, 2 pages 3.3

The "Letter from Birmingham Jail" as a speech to the white Americans.

Martin Luther King wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in 1963, while being arrested for non-permitted parading in a protest against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. In the letter, the biggest amount of criticism was addressed to the fellow clergymen and the Church that did not perceive the issue as an urgent one. I believe that 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. In my essay I will look at different ways that King used to address this issue.

Firstly, he justifies the right choice of place and time for the protests. "But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here." This introduces us into his basic argument: the racial segregation is injustice. As simple as it might seem to us nowadays, it may have not been equally clear to middle class American in 1960's.

Injustice moved Martin Luther King to act against it, just as it should have moved any other American citizen.

He indirectly sets himself as an example. "I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I believe that such a statement might have been very provocative to the white middle class newspaper reader in 1960s. It showed him his own indifference towards the issue. Even if he has always considered himself an anti-segregationist, he doubts his previous determination after reading the first paragraphs of the "Letter from the Birmingham Jail". He realizes that - yes; indeed, he did sit idly at home. Martin L. King wants to reveal this as a fact.

Secondly, King shows...