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Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ Essay

Martin Luther King Jr.’s revealing, ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, delves into the segregation, injustice and violence of Birmingham, Alabama, “probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States”(Inquiry, p.#391, paragraph 6) In response to criticism from eight clergymen of Birmingham, King details the process of preparation for the nonviolent protest that took place in Birmingham. Imprisoned for protesting without a license, Dr. King’s words continue to reach far beyond the bars of his prison in his letter from Birmingham jail.

Martin Luther King addresses the concerns and criticisms of his fellow clergymen, explaining why the African-American population of our nation cannot always be expected to “wait” for a more appropriate time to voice their concerns. “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”(Inquiry, p. #393, paragraph 13)

Dr. King’s wisdom is a well-known and well-cherished part of American history. Reading his words have cemented my admiration for his methods and his ideas. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he exposes the hypocrisy of the South and expresses his willingness to break an unjust law to pave the way for a just one. In case peacefully going to jail for his protests isn’t a loud enough demonstration, his letter, specifically addressed to eight fellow clergymen but meant for the nation, gets the message across.

Reading this letter has made me wonder how an eloquent, charismatic and just man such as Martin Luther King could be criticized, imprisoned and eventually assassinated. I question whoever cannot see the reason in Dr. King’s words. The issues of prejudice and segregation have been well worn since Martin Luther King’s time, but his words still hold passion and wisdom. His work on these issues was ground breaking, and I doubt our country would be as it is today if Dr. King had never spoken out in a time of injustice and inequality.

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