Martin Luther King, Jnr. wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in April 1963 while in Birmingham jail addressing it to his fellow clergy. The letter was in response to the then recent statements referring to his actions as unwise and untimely. The King’s presence in the city of Birmingham was questionable because he was an “outsider.”
In his letter, the King carefully considered his defense for his presence and actions in the city while referencing critical events and facts that necessitated the happenings (King, Jr. par 1). This letter came at a time when the civil rights movement had experienced major challenges of opposition and retaliation from the city leaders.
In this paper, I examine the fundamental excerpts that would serve to justify MLK’s actions as a civil rights leader waging actions in protest of the systematic injustices leveled against the Negro brothers and sisters. A critical exploration of these sentiments and King’s submissions shall serve to depict the critical role that he, and his staff from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had to play while in Birmingham.
In furtherance of representing the theme of the need for decisive action, the paper outlines some of the circumstances that would guarantee my actions in pursuit for justice on behalf of humanity (Mieder 141).
Justifications of the King’s Actions and presence in Birmingham City
There many excerpts in the letter from Birmingham jail that depicts the relevance of King’s action while in Birmingham. Firstly, the King began by stressing why he was in Birmingham, and he said that “ I am in Birmingham because injustice is here” his presence to unite with his fellow blacks in the fight for what they considered their rights is exhibited in the need to traverse the limits of physical boundaries (King, Jr. par 3).
In his defense, he invoked the biblical lesson of the Apostle Paul, who in the process of spreading the gospel to the Greco-Roman empire, left his village (Mieder 141).
From the biblical stand, the king was justified to move in the hope that his contributions would bring change in the destined world. His philosophical representations that drew from factual premises enabled him to succeed in bringing to the attention of the clergy, the need for direct action immediately. To demonstrate his connection with the city of Birmingham where he set the actions of non-violent actions, he acknowledged the mutual relationship that existed between states and communities (Mieder 141).
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” enumerates why sitting idly by could be a means of consenting to the injustices and a mode of conspiracy with the perpetrators of injustice. While detesting the application of the concept of an outsider, the King categorically espoused that not “anyone who lives inside the US could be considered an outsider.”
In this scenario, the King’s argument has far-reaching implications to justify the inclusivity of the US citizens. This statement succeeded in demonstrating that all people and communities drew mutuality from each other, and actions to create the outsider ideology was self-serving and discriminatory in nature (King, Jnr., King, and Harding 5).
According to MLK, “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.” To qualify his argument, the King substantiated by gaining support from the ugly literature of brutality known to Birmingham. The historical bombings and unresolved problems facing the Negro family acted in the best interest to support the Kings arguments.
These cases appear clearly as the smokescreens of the American State as witnessed by the largely displayed racist signs, which were long overdue. In general, the Kings positioning on the evidential support of the conditions leading to his engagements in the mass actions, sit-inns, and protests gave him a unique platform that perhaps justifies his presence and actions (King, Jr. par 8).
In my view, I would find my actions necessary in engaging in actions to denounce the corrupt organizations, government departments and individuals. This engagement would be to demonstrate that corruption is a social evil that immensely hampers growth of both the country and its citizens.
To align my argument, I would explore the contribution of corruption in the creation of two worlds that results in social stratification based on “halves” and the “halve not.” In detesting this vice on behalf of the masses, I suppose that my endeavors would meet sufficient support from the masses due to the foregoing need to bring about equality of resources through distributive justice (King, Jnr., King, and Harding 5).
Since the era in which we live has transformed in all spheres including systems of justice, and worldview, support would be formidable. However, it is important not to understate the possible protest that by antecedents of corruption, their close confidants and structured machineries aimed at scuttling the process.
In the light of the aforementioned discussions, it would be imperative not to engage in actions that would sabotage the processed of judicial, social or political transition aimed at redeeming the public and the state offices. Additionally, it would be unjust to martial support from the masses with a view to distort a meaningful process by serving self-interests or interest of a minority few unjustified for their actions or thoughts.
King Jnr., M. L., King, C. S., and Harding, V. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos Or Community? New York: Beacon Press, 2010. Print.
King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. Web The Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute, 23 April. 1963. Web. 26. Oct. 2011. http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/resources/article/annotated_letter_from_birmingham>.
Mieder, W. Making a Way Out of No Way: Martin Luther King’s Sermonic Proverbial Rhetoric. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.