Comparing Martin Luther King Jr. And Letter From Birmingham Jail

Decent Essays
While writing the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers knew the importance of human rights for Americans. The ideals of equality for everyone were challenged as discrimination rose. The fight for equal human rights led to the Civil Rights Movement. During this movement, many prominent leaders led the way for change. In the writings, “Racism: The Cancer that is Destroying America” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, two emerging human rights activists present their perspective on eradicating racism in America. Living in a time of racial inequality, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. address the need for African Americans to strive for equal human rights. They show the importance of movement through their purpose, audience, and …show more content…
and Malcolm X addressed their writing to two varying audiences. After being placed in jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to the clergymen that imprisoned him. They called his present activities “unwise and untimely” (King 892). King spent the letter proving that his actions were necessary for making changes to end racism. With a differing perspective, Malcolm X directed his article to African Americans themselves. He wanted to express the unity he shared with them by saying, “with the oppressed group of people to which I belong, the 22 million Afro-Americans, for we, more than any other people on earth today, are deprived of these inalienable human rights” (Malcolm X 303). Malcolm X wanted to empower his readers to fight for justice and make known that he was fighting beside them. As Malcolm X amalgamated the race to be courageous in their fight, Martin Luther King Jr. wanted African Americans to be recognized for this courage. When speaking to the clergymen he says, “I wish you had commended the Negro sit-inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer, and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation” (King 904). Martin Luther King Jr. supported the movements being made by African Americans and knew they deserved recognition for their actions. In their publications, both men strived to bolster their fellow citizens in the incessant battle …show more content…
and Malcolm X used similar religious aspects in their style of writing, the tone of both men varies greatly. Throughout his letter, Martin Luther King Jr. conveyed his opinion in an impassioned but deferential manner. He expressed his cordiality when he signed his letter, “yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood” (King 904). He wanted to have an amicable tone to negotiate the adjustment that was necessary for the advancement of American society. Martin Luther King was not looking for a dispute, but rather a friendly agreement. On the contrary, Malcolm X, filled with resent for the white American and the unjust treatment African Americans received, used an indignant tone. He bluntly called out the oppression of whites by saying, “have the racists in it [the American government] exposed and condemned as the criminals that they are” (Malcolm X 305). The discrimination exasperated Malcolm X and he impatiently awaited a drastic change in America. He used the enraged energy he felt to empower his fellow African Americans to stand up for their rights. Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. appealed to emotions, but to those of the clergymen. King described the physical pain of seeing “vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim” (King 895). He used these horrific and disheartening scenes that occurred in Birmingham to seek their empathy. He also made them aware that adults and children alike were

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