Personal Reaction to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

In this chapter, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King wrote this letter to respond his fellow clergymen who criticized his work and called his present activities “unwise”. He was in Birmingham because he was invited and had organizational ties there, also he could not see the injustice that happened in Birmingham. People in Birmingham choose direct action rather than waiting for negotiation because they realized that they are victims of broken promises. He was stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community, one is a force of people who want to give up and accepted everything, the other force is people who advocating violence.

He was disappointed with the white moderate because they were more devoted to law than justice.

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King is a very inspiring letter because it was related with the many racist cases that occured with black people. I agree with the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” because it states that when there was a problem, it does not only affect one place but it was also affected everywhere, anytime there was injustice, it affects everyone.

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For example, black people were always discriminated and sometimes they were threatened anywhere even though they didn't do anything wrong, so injustice to black people was not only occured in Birmingham but anywhere.

Martin Luther King wrote “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

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” Martin Luther King was a pastor himself, and his letter was to his fellow clergymen, some of whom were the reasons for him being put in prison. The only difference in Martin Luther King was a black pastor who was clearly very against segregation and spoke out about against it, while his fellow clergymen were all white and didn’t have a problem to spoke out were afraid to spoke out about segregation. It’s bad enough to have you fight against an opposing side and have difficulty getting them to understand your side. Martin Luther King must have felt disappointed and frustrated beyond belief by not understanding the people around him, especially because they themselves were also pastors. When people with opposing ideals than you struggle or refuse to acknowledge or understand your intentions, that was expected. People who disagree with you should have to be thoroughly convinced to join your side, that means you have proven and supported your points well and showed them why yours better. But to having people who usually agree with you, and people who you think were your friends don't understand or acknowledge your reason or point was devastating. You think that usually good people would be easily to persuaded on your side but when it's not, it's frustrating. This will be a quote that sticks with me for a long time because of the deep truth hidden behind Martin Luther King’s words that most people might just ignored.

Martin Luther King was disappointed that his fellow clergymen would see his nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. He was tried to be fair and fight for both opposing forces in the Negro community. He states “I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, the other force is one of bitterness and hatred.” I agree with his actions to think about both opposing forces fairly and tried to fight for both opposing forces because not many people could be fair at such times.

I want to tell you about racist cases that occured in my country, Indonesia and are similar to the racist cases of black people in Birmingham and how it relates to text. In Indonesia, there are two main races, native Indonesians also called Pribumi and Chinese Indonesians. Chinese Indonesians in Indonesia are a migrant citizens and a minority citizens. Chinese Indonesians are sometimes treated unfairly by native Indonesians and is similar to the case of black people in Birmingham even though they are not treated as badly as black people. I have a few examples. The first is a simple case example that is a real event that my friend experienced.

In Indonesia, there are two types of schools, one is free schools that are funded by government often called public schools and another is a private school that is not subsidized by the government and more expensive. The average person who goes to a public school is a native Indonesians and private school is usually filled by Chinese Indonesians. My friend is Chinese Indonesians and does not have the cost of school in private school so she studies in public schools during elementary school, she was bullied by her native Indonesians friends just because her skin was white and was Chinese Indonesians. The second example is the regulation in Indonesia that only a native Indonesians can become president. The third example is the worst case, namely May 1998 riots of Indonesia. The main target of violence in this riot was Chinese Indonesians. It was estimated that more than a thousand people died in the riots. At least 168 cases of rape were reported, and the store's average are looted. My parents were also victims of the tragedy, our shop was looted and they were almost burned alive but they survived.

Injustice could acted as a domino affect. This line of dominos starts all the way back to how an individual was raised and developed. If the individual was raised with a false understanding of the value of all people, no matter the pigmentation of their skin, they would continue to believe these things. These people joined each other and together raised the public to see people of color as "inferior" to themselves. This keeps getting out of control until everyone was on the same page, or someone halts their progress, that was what Martin Luther King tried to do together with his own group. He knew the consequences, but for millions of people of color, he was countered.

Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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Personal Reaction to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. (2020, Sep 08). Retrieved from

Personal Reaction to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” essay
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