Castillo Matthew Mayo English 1301 18 February 2013 Summary of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” The purpose of this letter is that Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to inform and prove a point to the people that were against his thoughts and beliefs. Through out his letter he wrote with lots of passion and intelligence. At times he might’ve even felt disappointed and angry but none the less very formal and with good manner. This letter was made out to the people that were upset for the actions that he did and for what he was fighting for.
The first argument that he appointed was in regards to the letter he received from the clergymen. In this letter that they wrote to Martin Luther King Jr. summarized the idea that Mr. King should just go back to where he lives and forget the whole mess that has caused him to go to jail in Birmingham.
So to begin off the response, Mr. King first talks about how he arrived to Birmingham and the reasons why. Someone with higher authority had told him to go there to fix the situation that was going on with the segregation and the differences between the white race and the black race.
He was there to come to some compromise between the two races in reasonable ways. Martin talks about how he will also keep fighting for his people no matter what the consequences are. Lastly, he defends himself by saying that any body that lives inside their home country is not considered and an outsider if is still in their country. He says that because the clergymen consider him an outsider just because he lived in a different city and his family is waiting for him back home. Throughout his letter, Martin also argues that his actions are not unwise and untimely.
His actions are unwise because he uses nonviolent direct action as the only way when negotiating doesn’t work. He believes that this direct action creates some tension that can make the white people consider them to negotiate or come to some reasonable terms with the black folk. Then he talks about how his actions are not untimely. He states some facts that African Americans have been waiting for more than three hundred years for their rights. He also mentions that when people ask him to wait, wait always means never. Another topic he makes a point about is that he talks about just and unjust laws.
He agues that the morally, just laws are God’s laws which are equal to everyone. But segregation laws are unjust laws. He also states that unjust laws don’t follow the democratic process in which black people are not allowed to vote because of segregation. He continues on by saying that a law can just be on paper, but can be function unjustly. He makes his point by saying that they should break laws that are unjust so they can become truly just. He shows some examples like the Old Testament, early Christians in Rome, Boston Tea party, and etc. Martin Luther King Jr. oes on his letter also talking about how he is disappointed in the church because they should see the justice in his movement and should help him out but they don’t do anything. But that will succeed without their help. He mentions how he wants to do this nonviolently because it will bring good attention rather than doing things violently and not right. Mr. King also brings a good point of the things that happened with Adolf Hitler. He sees the hypocrisy in our country. The United States army fights against Hitler because he is getting rid of all the Jews, just because.
But yet in the United States, segregation against the black people is going on. Its like the United States is Hitler and the Jews are the black people. In conclusion, he sends this letter to the clergymen with all these points and arguments on why he is in Birmingham. He states reasons why he will keep fighting for his beliefs. Mr. King shows different examples of how segregation has been a problem and why it should be gone. He shares his thoughts and opinions to anyone that would hear him out and help his movement in any way.
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