Paper on Martin Luther King
A necessary argument
In the 1960’s the American Negro was fighting against the white population’s resistance to integration. The practice of racist discrimination and segregation in the South had become institutionalized. Martin Luther King rose as a leader of the black communities as they started staging public demonstrations. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail", written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in response to a public statement made by eight Alabama clergymen. Among other arguments, he defended his rightful presence in Birmingham, justified the demonstrations as morally right against unjust laws, and refused their accusations of him being an extremist.
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[…] So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here” (Paragraph 2).
In his mind, not only his presence in Birmingham was justified, as member of a local organization, but was also required by the group. I think that, even if he hadn’t been a member of the organization, he had every right to be there as a Negro leader, and as an American. I think that any injustice against an American is an injustice against every American. Since it was the Federal Government court that deemed racial segregation illegal, its practice, anywhere in America, became every American’s business. Because of this, King had every right to be there.
The white clergymen were concerned about the Negroes being willing to break the laws, and referred to their actions as immoral. Martin Luther King said that “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (Paragraph 15). He accused the white majority of being the immoral ones for refusing to stop segregation, which the Supreme Court’s had outlawed. On the other hand, he morally justified the Negro’s position with regards to public demonstrations. Local segregation laws were immoral and shouldn’t be obeyed by either the white or the Negroes. I believe that King’s position regarding the laws was fair. It was the segregation laws that were immoral and the Negroes had every right to disobey.
King also rightfully responded to the accusation of using extreme measures that incited hatred and violence. When he said, “… as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an...