Martin Luther King Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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On April 16th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in response to criticism he received from fellow clergymen. They criticized his leading of nonviolent direct action program of protests throughout the city of Birmingham, Alabama, including sit-ins and freedom rides. Dr. King addresses these concerns by first providing the clergymen with his reason for going to Birmingham- to battle injustice. Dr.King asserts that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is a profound statement because it implies that Dr.King is concerned with much more than simply correcting the wrongdoings of the society in Birmingham; he desires to fight for justice everywhere. Dr.King details the process of organizing …show more content…
Dr.King explains to the clergymen that steps one through three have been thoroughly completed. The facts of injustice cannot be ignored, multiple attempts to negotiate with leaders- both political and economic- have failed, and everyone that was protesting was prepared to be nonviolent and endure challenges, both mental and physical. Another key point of Dr.King’s work defined the difference between just and unjust laws. He “agrees with Saint Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’” Therefore, he continues, because the laws of segregation are unjust, he is compelled to “disobey segregation ordinances because they are morally wrong.” However, he cautions that “one who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…expressing the very highest respect for the …show more content…
I would have to agree with his stance. Dr.King outlines the systematic oppression of African Americans throughout his work, and I doubt few people in today’s society would agree with these Jim Crow laws. Clearly, this meets the criteria of being considered unjust. Should skipping straight to civil disobedience be advisable, though? I don’t believe so, and neither does Dr.King. He spoke on multiple occasions to leaders in hopes of finding a common ground in order to ensure freedom and democracy for all citizens. However, after countless failed attempts, the need to prepare for direct action was necessary. The need for nonviolent protesting, a cornerstone of his beliefs, was made apparent. I believe that watching a crime and doing nothing is just as dangerous, if not more, as perpetrating a crime. I, much like Dr.King, do not believe in disobeying laws simply because you do not agree with them. For instance, having a complete disregard for the laws in place and advocating for anarchy is not the right answer. However, if the law is unjust, and “degrades the human personality,” I agree it should be vehemently protested. The segregation laws, the oppression of the Jews in Nazi Germany, the protesting of British policy in India led by Gandhi are all examples of social injustice at the hands of many that should have been, and were, disobeyed and

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