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A Letter From A Birmingham Jail

1514 words - 7 pages

Michael Webb
John Sauls
ENGL 1010-022
11 October 2013
A Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15 in the year 1929. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King Jr. had a tremendous impact on the desegregation of the United States, primarily the South, in the ‘60's. Many people believe that he in fact had one of if not the greatest and most influential impact of any civil rights leader in history. King Jr. began his civil rights activities in 1955 when he protested in Montgomery, Alabama against their horribly segregated public bus system. The protest was started after an African American lady on a bus by the name of Rosa Parks was arrested ...view middle of the document...

Leaders of the campaign proclaimed they would not follow the decision that had been made. On April 12, King Jr. was arrested alongside his fellow members Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, and other courageous marchers following King’s example. Thousands of African American citizens looked on in horror. King was met with extremely bad conditions in the Birmingham jail. One of the fellow protesters also arrested, smuggled in a newspaper from April 12, which contained "A Call for Unity": a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen against King and his actions. The letter provoked King and he began to write a response on the newspaper itself.
This document hits home with me because me being an African American and also living in the South, I am well aware of the severely harsh treatment my previous ancestors had to endure for so long solely based on the color of their skin. There are so many opportunities I have today because of people like Martin Luther King Jr. having the courage and bravery to stand up for what is right. Martin Luther King Jr. would not stop until he saw the world he so much dreamed of where he could live in peace regardless of his skin color. A world where people would be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”(King) He worked so hard for this to become a reality until it ultimately cost him his precious life. I thank God for people like him. He and so many others like him changed the world and paved the way for other African Americans like me to have numerous opportunities they could never see let alone imagine. Who would of ever thought we would have an African American leader of the United States of America. Surely no civil rights activists of his time could ever think that would happen. I am sure if those activists and civil rights leaders were around today they would be so proud to see what they greatly accomplished.
King’s letter responds to the criticism declared by the eight white clergymen from Alabama. This letter has been found to be significantly important throughout history because it tells about Martin Luther King Jr.’s feelings about the unequal and unjust things that had taken place during that period in time. It also is a very well written argument. Above all, this letter tells all about current events happing in the year of 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama and what would sadly continue throughout 1960s. He wrote this letter from his jail cell to reply to the clergymen and who ever else criticizes his works and actions while he strives for equality for all men and women.
Throughout the letter, King essentially responds to the writing of the clergymen in a very professional and educated way. He essentially takes the clergymen’s words and uses them against them. From the beginning of his letter, He distorts the words used by the clergymen to his benefit. The clergymen refer to MLK Jr. as an outsider. MLK Jr. quickly fires back by stating that he has over eighty...

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