Martin Luther King
“Why We Can’t Wait” a Historical Document by Martin Luther King Jr. Report (Assessment)
Many of the exceptional leaders in the past have spent some time in detention centers due to their aspiration to transform the society. King is one of these leaders, who wrote an essay talking about the injustices in the society while addressing the church (Armstrong and Fahey 113). In his essay, King states that he received an invitation to Birmingham.
The existing governmental ties and the presence of discrimination resulted in his imprisonment (Schumaker 343). There is an association between communities since King deduced that what affects one community will affect the other. He discussed two types of laws and gave reference to several past figures to support his measures.
King led many passive protests to prove that lack of integration went against societal impartiality and the spiritual practices of Americans (Charters 24). Birmingham was arguably the most isolated regions in the United States. King differentiates fair and unfair laws by explaining that a fair law is in harmony with existing ethical or saintly laws (Mayfield 359). Any convention that is out of synchronization with the expected and ethical law is known as unjust law (Charters 30). Laws which validate segregation and demean human self-esteem are regarded as unreasonable.
An unjust is forced on people with less say and opinions by the empowered personalities in the society; however such laws are not followed by the latter group (Starzl 231). A just law will be followed by both the majority and the marginal (Armstrong and Fahey 113).
Those laws, which are enacted, yet the marginal are denied the right to vote for or against them, are regarded as unfair laws. There are some laws which could be understood as fair and unfair upon relation to their formulation and application. This convinced King to go against some of the laws (Charters 31).
King associated his behavior to those of biblical times when disciples traveled abroad to spread the gospel. He could not watch human privileges being violated in Birmingham (Charters 24). He referred to Socrates when he addressed productive tension which aids development.
Socrates felt that creating anxiety in the brain is necessary to prevent people from being blinded by tradition, and think more creatively and critically analyze issues challenging the society. Creating tension which does not involve hostility enables human beings to embrace brotherhood and fight ethnic isolation (Charters 27).
Segregation creates a feeling of inadequacy on those who are being discriminated against by affecting their personality negatively. Martin Buber stated that segregation degraded an individual to a simple object. King concludes from the Greek philosopher’s reaction that the vice is dishonest communally and politically (Charters 30). Paul Tilch related sin to division stating that segregation expressed the unpleasant drifting apart of humans.
The principles of an individual may lead to a counter-reaction against an unfair law (Lawler & Schaefer 265). The willingness to face responsibility for one’s action, according to King, is in actual sense valuing the law. King refers to the social defiance expressed on Nebuchadnezzar based on the faith of a higher ethical law by Christians (King 72).
Intellectual autonomy is seen as an actuality today because of the civil defiance of Socrates. King confirms that were he alive during Hitler’s reign in Germany, he would have gone against the law by reassuring and aiding the Jews (Charters 31).
This essay indicates the heroism and principles of king which defied ethnic separation in America. It analyses the state of discrimination which was previously experienced while promoting peaceful demonstrations (Gottlieb 177). The essay which was written by King while in jail has influenced the lives of many Americans and is considered a milestone in American writing (Flora, MacKethan & Taylor 430).
Armstrong, Richard. & Fahey, Joseph. A peace reader: essential readings on war, justice, non-violence, and world order. New Jersey: Paulist press, 2002 112-113.
Charters, Ann. The portable sixties reader. New York: Penguin classics, 2003 22-30.
Flora, Joseph. MacKethan, Lucinda. & Taylor, Todd. The companion to southern literature: theme, genres, places, people movements, and motifs. Louisiana: LSU press, 2002 430.
Gottlieb, Roger. Liberating faith: religious voices for justice, peace, and ecological wisdom. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003 177.
King Martin, Luther (Jr). Why we can’t wait. New York: Signet Classic, 2000 72.
Lawler, Augustine. & Schaefer, Robert. American political rhetoric. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005. 265.
Mayfield, Marlys. Thinking for yourself. Ohio: Cengage learning, 2009 358-359.
Schumaker, Paul. The political theory reader. Oxford: John Wiley and sons, 2009 343.
Starzl, Thomas. The puzzle people: memoirs of a transplant surgeon. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh press, 2003 231.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” Analysis. Martin Luther King Essay
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr (MLK), one of the United States’ most famous civil rights activists in Birmingham, was imprisoned for his participation in a civil rights demonstration in the city. While in prison, Dr. King wrote a letter seeking to address some criticism brought against him by the clergy. This letter from Birmingham Jail analysis essay shall highlight some of the issues discussed in the historic letter including King’s reason for being in Birmingham and why he felt compelled to break the law.
Reasons for Being in Birmingham
The analysis of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” will help to answer the first question that Dr. King addresses in the letter which is the reason why he is in Birmingham city. This was in light of the fact that he was from Atlanta, and some of his critics, therefore, considered him an outsider to Birmingham. Dr. King asserts that his presence in Birmingham is as a result of a direct invitation by some affiliated organizations across the South.
As the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King feels that it is his duty to work together with his organization’s affiliates. King further states that his presence in the city is due to the injustices and tension that exist therein. He is compelled to be there to offer aid to those who he feels have been wronged by the system for as he declares, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Reason for Breaking Laws
Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” analysis will also help to define the reasons for breaking laws. Dr. King comes under attack for violating the laws of the land. His critics condemn the demonstration that King is involved in since they violate Birmingham’s laws and cause unrest. Dr. King admonishes his critics for failing to consider the social realities that have necessitated the demonstrations by the Negro community.
While acknowledging that negotiations are more suitable, King illustrates that past negotiations have failed to yield any fruitful results. Direct action is, therefore, seen as the only way through which the nation’s conscience to the racial realities of America can be awakened. Dr. King also points out that most of the laws in place, such as segregation and denial of rights to votes for some groups, are unjust.
These laws are immoral, and King affirms that he can, with a clean conscience, urge people to disobey such requirements. As such, King’s main point advocates for the obedience of the law as he acknowledges that lack of law would lead to anarchy. However, he encourages the public breaking of unjust laws to arouse the conscience of the community over the particular injustices.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”: Analysis of Historical Figures
In order to analyze “Letter from Birmingham Jail” substantially, historical figures should be reviewed. Dr. King mentions a number of historical figures to support his line of action. In the letter, King points to Jesus, who was branded as an “extremist for love” and subsequently crucified for the same. Paul, an avid follower of Jesus who is credited with the early spreading of the Christian gospel, is also mentioned in the letter. Martin Luther, the German priest who played the main role in standing up against the ancient Roman Catholic Church practices, is also referenced.
Mr. King also refers to John Bunyan, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and willingly stayed in jail other than perverting his conscience. The United States president Abraham Lincoln, whose administration led to the abolishment of slavery, is also referenced in King’s letter. The letter also cites Thomas Jefferson, whose words in the declaration of independence asserted that all men are created equal.
The summary of the letter shows that all of the historical figures that Dr. King refers to were branded as extremists in their time, but as history demonstrates, they were all men of integrity, and their “extremism” brought about necessary change and inspiration to the people.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail”: Conclusion
This paper is set out to analyze the letter to highlight some of significant issues that Dr. King sets out to address. This essay has explained the reasons why King was in Birmingham city, his reasons for advocating the breaking of the law, and the various historical figures with whom Dr. King related. From the critical analysis of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” provided in this paper, a better understanding of Dr. King’s motives and his reasoning can be reached.
Political Theories of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay
In post-war America, the fight against racism threatened to turn the country upside down. The struggle reached a climax in the mid 1960s, and in the midst of it all were two charismatic and articulate leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Their philosophical differences forced them to be at odds with each other as each strategized about how to win the fight for equality and justice for African Americans. Yet, these Civil Rights leaders shared certain attributes. Their similarities allowed them to cross paths and establish common ground, while their actions made them iconic leaders of the African American race.
Their shared passion for freedom and equality made them targets, and their commitment to their ideals caused them to die in the prime of their lives from an assassin’s bullet. Irony particularly surrounds the violent death of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose political ideas were deemed too passive and unradical by some critics. Yet, his contributions helped to shape contemporary African American politics.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X walked different paths; however, there were commonalities between them. For instance, both championed an end to the status quo. Furthermore, both men agreed that American society could be transformed only through dramatic changes in attitude and actions at the individual, community and national levels.
Each man believed that he had a major role to play in this struggle, and each leader altered his birth name to monikers we now consider legendary. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King, and Malcolm X was christened as Malcolm Little.
Their ideas and words came from a religious base. Both were ministers in their respective religions. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the son, grandson and the great grandson of Baptist ministers, and when he grew up, it was unsurprising that he became a fourth generation Baptist minister. Malcolm X was also a preacher’s son. He joined the Nation of Islam while incarcerated and then became a lay leader in the Muslim religion.
When King and Malcolm X spoke, their power and charisma were obvious and their distinctive styles were honed in their respective congregations. The ideas that each brought forth were characterized by religious undertones and influenced by sacred doctrine.
Their political ideas stemmed from a hope that all African Americans would be ale to walk the streets with their heads held high. A dream of total emancipation from the negative effects of slavery and the desire for freedom in all aspects of life.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech at the March on Washington, he said, “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream . that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
This excerpt illustrates the burning passion in his heart. The same can be said of Malcolm X who refused to accept standard discriminatory practices and was consumed by a vision that someday African Americans would no longer be treated as second-class citizens.
Both their teachings outlived their lives and transcended beyond the geographical boundaries that confined the two leaders. Just as their teachings appealed to the same group of people in different ways, the spread of their ideologies has also taken different paths.
Malcolm X teachings have remained in non-mainstream minority groupings only surfacing when such groups find a leader similar to Malcolm X in their defense of the ideology and quickly leave the mainstream with the departure of the leader.
In a similar pattern, King’s ideologies have penetrated the mainstream just as they did before and continue to influence policy and personal aspirations of equality along all lifestyles. The pattern of the ideological spread remains unchanged for both leaders’ political theories.
Although both African American leaders shared similarities, they were totally different when it came to the core principles of their political theories. Malcolm X believed that African Americans needed to be more aggressive. He believed that they had to assert themselves when it came to their constitutional rights as citizens of the United States of America and their God given rights as human beings.
More importantly, Malcolm X’s core teachings were all about “moral principles of self defense, retaliation, and power.” Martin Luther King, Jr., on the other hand, chose nonviolent resistance “through unconditional love and direct action.” In other words, Martin Luther King, Jr. believed firmly in the principles of nonviolent resistance against the oppressors of the Negro race.
Their differences in this regard may partly explain why King was admired more than Malcolm X, arguably. Once a year, Americans celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which illustrates this icon’s national importance. In addition, Martin Luther King, Jr., at age 35, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements in the fight for equality, freedom, and justice using nonviolent means. He was and is considered as one of the youngest to ever receive a Nobel Prize.
The second major difference can be seen in how both gentlemen envisioned the future when it came to the relationship between blacks and whites. King wanted integration. He not only believed that racism could be eradicated, but also that black and whites could live in relative harmony.
One writer captured King’s actions and beliefs more succinctly when he wrote, “Although King’s Gandhian tactics were radical at the time, his goals in 1965 were mainstream: inclusion of black citizens in an integrated American democracy.” During this period, some questioned the effectiveness of this approach. In fact, there were many criticisms hurled at King, but, in the end, it was all justified.
Similar to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s critics, Malcolm X felt that King’s vision was a mere illusion void of logic. He emphasized the slim likelihood that white people would relinquish control of their positions of authority.
One commentator summarized the rationale for the call for separation as opposed to integration; citing Malcolm X, the author wrote the following: “Because they believed they would never ‘pierce the present white power structure’ they decided to form a separate party and elect Negroes to office.”
This reasoning is why many disapproved of King’s nonviolent stance, which Malcolm X viewed as illogical, given the entrenched power of white people.
Malcolm X clarified it further by stating: “In the etiquette of race relations, the condition of the oppressed was ameliorated, if at all, through entreaty and supplication and only by the dominant class and at its pace.” Malcolm X felt that progress was moving at a snail’s pace and something had to be done.
Malcolm X regarded action as the only way to influence change on the American political atmosphere. His rhetoric is full of the feelings of oppression that African Americans felt under the political ideological system of the time such that each African American saw themselves as victims.
When Malcolm X spoke to address the grievances of African Americans, he did so as a victim just like those whom he was representing. Therefore, his teachings resonated more with the heavily oppressed and poor compared to the relatively well-off enjoying mild social status in the American socio-economic system.
The extremist boldness of Malcolm X added to his resentment of the prevailing law in America. According to his rhetoric, Malcolm X saw that there were only two options of putting a stop to the oppression of the African American, using the ballot box or an armed struggle.
Either choice was not favorable with the existing government or therefore he became an enemy of the state as long as he advocated his political ideologies. Contrariwise, King’s ideology presents a variety of choices that aim to bring the oppressed and the oppressor to a common ground without the feeling that one group is taking from another.
Malcolm X’s teachings resonate well with revolutionary causes and therefore capture the spirit of minority groups in all aspects of their lives.
His teachings brings out the lack that minorities experience and seeks to compel them to put an end to their dissatisfaction by joining an uprising that will ultimately uplift their socio economic status to the level of those that oppress them. Unfortunately, none of the individuals forming the prevailing political class falls under the classification of the oppressed as described by Malcolm X, therefore they cannot relate on a personal level to his teachings.
Other than their revolutionary proclamations, Malcolm’s teaching depended on his energy of message delivery; he had to display a strong unwavering character capable of no compromise in championing the causes of the oppressed. His teaching was forceful compared with King’s powerful teaching.
It must also be pointed out that their differences are exemplified in the way they crafted their speeches, declarations, and actions when in the public eye.
Their personal and political views affected the way they handled their social and political activities. It can be argued that both men were activists, though only one became an expert at dealing with mainstream politics and managing the tension between the oppressed, frustrated black minority and the white majority.
For instance, Martin Luther King, Jr. was able to work with former President Johnson, and their collaboration resulted in the creation of landmark laws whose impact is still felt to this day. Malcolm X, on the other hand, succeeded in alienating himself from mainstream society and failed to exert a positive influence on the White House to help him to reach his goals.
Martin Luther King, Jr. may have had a better feel for politics, but in the eyes of his critics, that political savviness became a liability. The radicalized segment of the African American community wanted substantial results and possibly interpreted King’s cautious stance as a sign of weakness.
King’s strategies were viewed with contempt by many African-Americans, especially some young people. Malcolm X’s fiery rhetoric was more desirable for many of them. In the words of one author, “They weren’t willing to wait for the slow, patient, methods of the NAACP, or even the civil rights movement, to take effect.”
Despite the speculation, no one will know how far Malcolm X was willing to go when it came to his ideas of self-defense and retaliation, because of his untimely death. But, it can be said that the nonviolent approach to the issues of racism has proven more effective than the alternative.
While King’s ideologies of non-violence and dialogue portrayed him as a weak leader in the eyes of the oppressed African Americans, his method proved more effective compared to that of Malcolm X. King had power that resided in the principles he preached about. His ideology embodied universal principles of love and acceptance such that it would be adapted to a variety of courses against oppression.
In addition, his message depended on the belief of the listener more than on the messenger. As a result, King’s followers were true converts of his principles and would become advocates for the same to other people. King’s relative success of penetrating the state and converting a few individuals lies in the power embodied in his message rather than his character.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X shared the same dream of the eventual elimination of racism. They hoped that the members of the Negro race would come to know the true meaning of the phrase “all men are created equal” and be treated fairly. However, they differed sharply in the methods chosen to make this dream come true.
King adhered to a Gandhi-like, non-violent approach and sought to integrate with the mainstream society. Malcolm X opted for more radical measures and was willing to retaliate against oppressors. Radicalized members of the African American community frowned upon the less aggressive tactics of King and most of this constituency doubted King’s effectiveness. They were excited with the ideas articulated by Malcolm X.
But, in the end, it was the non-violent, civil disobedience approach of Martin Luther King, Jr. that awakened the conscience of Americans both black and white and more so resonated universally. Every year, Americans commemorate the contributions of King through a national holiday that bears his name, and that practice alone is enough to testify to the positive impact of his legacy.
- “Malcolm X (1925-1965).” The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Education Institutue. Web.
- “King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968).”
- Laurence Bove. Philosophical Perspectives on Power and Domination: Theories and Practices. (Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1997), 223.
- Nick Kotz, Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws that Changed America. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005), 297.
- William Terence & Martin Riches. The Civil Rights Movement: Struggle and Resistance. (New York: PALGRAVE, 1997), 92.
- William Sales, From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1994), 168.
- Baggins Brian, “History of the Black Panther Party”. Marxists Internet Archive. Web.
- Kotz, 112.
- Beatrice Gormley, Malcolm X: A Revolutionay Voice for African Americans. (New York: Sterling Publishing, 2008), 87.
- James Cone, Black Theology in American Theology. (Journal of American Academy of Religion, Vol 53, No. 4, pp. 775-771, 2008), 759.
The 95 Theses by Martin Luther Analytical Essay
The thirty year war between the period 1618 and 1648 in central Europe is said to have been initiated by the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther, in 1517.
The war was caused by various elements including religious disputes, ethnic competition and political weakness. It involved many major powers in Europe, and the fight is said to have shattered a lot of central Europe land, resulting in permanent changes in European politics and culture.
Religious turmoil and warfare is believed to have come after Luther left the Catholic Church. “The 95 Theses were mailed to the local bishops by Martin Luther, in an effort to convince them to take action against the indulgencies”.
In addition to this, Luther posted the Theses to the castle church door, since it was routine to place any communal information on the castle church door. The 95 Theses were aimed at inviting local scholars to the contenting of the immoderations. It was an academic exercise and its title read,
“Out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following Theses will be publicly discussed at Wittenberg under the chairmanship of the reverend father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology and regularly appointed Lecturer on these subjects at that place. He requests that those who cannot be present to debate orally with us will do so by letter. In the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
The contention occurred a fortnight later, in Wittenberg, though the Theses were not intended to be a program for reform or an attack on the pope. The motive behind releasing the thesis was to question the immoderations, which is something that he had done all along, through his lectures.
Luther was not the only person who raised concerns about the indulgences, as many people in Europe were also complaining. The support from various regions was one of the reasons that led to the rapid spread of the 95 Theses, which were scriptural response to the indulgences.
The church taught penance through the indulgences, in three parts namely:
“confession and sorrow for sin; absolution/forgiveness spoken by the priest, and; satisfaction, some good work done to pay for the temporal punishment of sin, including pilgrimages to holy places, praying of the rosary, and visiting relics, among others.”
An indulgence was a certificate that could be purchased, as an addition to a confession, which assured a holder of a temporal punishment. This meant that the holder was not liable for unending retribution in hell, but retribution in their life, and in purgatory for the absolved sins.
“The main motivation for Luther in writing the 95 Theses was a special jubilee indulgence instituted by Pope Leo X”. “The indulgence was aimed at building St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome”. The indulgence meant that all sin and everlasting and worldly retribution would be excused to those who bought them.
There were four chief graces obtainable from the jubilee indulgence, namely: the total forgiveness of sin; the likelihood to obtain a confessional letter that would present an individual the right to obtain absolution for all sins twice; purchasers of the indulgence and their family members who were deceased would take part in the religious works and merits of the church; and the complete forgiveness of punishment for the people in purgatory when an indulgence is purchased for an individual already in it.
“The jubilee indulgence had been restricted from being sold across the river by Luther’s price, Duke Frederick, though it was still sold, in his Saxon territory”.
The indulgence sales people set up inside the home church whenever they visited. During this period, habitual sermons were postponed and prohibited. The price of the indulgence was dependent on an individual’s station in life.
For example, “kings and queens: 25 gulden; high counts and prelates: 10 gulden; low counts and prelates: 6 gulden; merchants and townspeople: 3 gulden; artisans: 1 gulden; others, 0.5 gulden; while the indigent were supposed to fast and pray”.
The 95 Theses specialized on atonement and fine deeds. At the same time, the Theses contained upsetting proclamations about the pope that caused conflicts between him and the roman church. The document was observed by many as an attack on the papacy, but this was not one of the objectives when Luther included it. The Theses was translated into German after a fortnight, making its spread into Germany very fast. This made Luther very famous on an international level, as prior to his Theses, he was only known locally.
Another opinion on the revolt against the Western Church and papacy claims that the 95 Theses by Luther were not the cause. The revolutionary document did not display any vicious spirit aimed at destroying the established church. The 95 Theses were observed to be the expressions of a pastor who was dedicated to provide peace for his followers.
Luther wanted to be a true pastor by defining the true nature, purpose and place of indulgences, the basis for forgiveness, guilt and penalty. The main objective of Luther when he wrote the 95 Theses was to remove the fig leaves that people assembled in order to cover their shameful nakedness before God’s eyes.
Luther observed that people were at the mercy of God, and that people were not able to trust their own perceptions and judgements, and specifically the craving for glory. Luther wanted people to be theologians of the cross, finding, trusting, embracing the true God, “who has hidden himself in the dark suffering on the cross.”
Bainton, Roland. Here I Stand: a Life of Martin Luther. New York: Penguin, 1995.
This report is beneficial in observing the life of the great religious leader in Martin Luther. The report is a biography that showcases the obscure engravings that provide a flavor of the era when Martin Luther lived.
Hunt, Lynn, Thomas Martin, Bonnie Smith, and Barbara Rosenwein. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Vol. 2: Since 1500. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s; 3rd edition, 2008.
This work by Lynn hunt will help in analysing the main challenges faced by philosophers of western civilization. With primary focus on chapter 15, the aim is to identify the role of Luther’s 95 Theses in the religious war that lasted for a period of over 30 years, in the seventeenth century.
Iserloh, Erwin. The Theses Were Not Posted: Luther Between Reform and Reformation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1968.
The book is broad on the topic of reformation, and is beneficial in providing information regarding the 95 Theses. The book takes us back to 1517 when Martin Luther reopened the debate on the sale of indulgences and the authority to absolve sin and remit on from purgatory. The book tells us of the sudden outbreak of irresistible force of discontent propagated by Luther.
Kittelson, James. Luther The Reformer. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishing House, 1986.
This is a book that will provide us with life teachings of Kittleson, as he walks us through his life as a reformer, without overwhelming us with scholarly concerns. Seeing that kittleson is the director of the Lutheran brotherhood foundation reformation research program at Luther seminary, his book is bound to contain adequate information regarding Martin Luther, and the 95 Theses, as well as events leading up to the Theses, and its consequences.
Lasley, T. J. “Preservice Teacher Beliefs about Teaching.” Journal of Teacher Education, 1980: 31, 38-41.
The journal is beneficial in its analysis of the world of preservice teacher education. Lasley compares the detail wit which Luther portrayed his reasons for his beliefs about God and Rome, via his 95 Theses, to the present world scenario, of preservice teacher education.
- Roland, Bainton. Here I Stand: a Life of Martin Luther. New York: Penguin, 1995
- Lynn Hunt. 2008
- Lynn Hunt, Thomas Martin, Bonnie Smith, and Barbara Rosenwein. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Vol. 2: Since 1500. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s; 3rd edition, 2008.
- Lasley, T. J. “Preservice Teacher Beliefs about Teaching.” Journal of Teacher Education, 1980: 31, 38-41.
- James, Kittelson. Luther The Reformer. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishing House, 1986.
- James, Kittelson. Luther The Reformer. 1986.
- Erwin, Iserloh. The Theses Were Not Posted: Luther Between Reform and Reformation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1968
- Erwin, Iserloh. 1968
- Lasley, T. J.. 1980: 31, 38-41.
- Bainton, Roland. 1995
- Lynn, Hunt, Thomas Martin, Bonnie Smith, and Barbara Rosenwein. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Vol. 2
The Black Arts Era: Contributions of Malcolm X & Martin Luther King Jr. Essay
The Black Arts Era will go into the annals of history as one of the most contentious in American history. The era was heralded by the establishment of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) in Harlem in the decade of the 1960s. Many historians view this movement as the artistic arm of the Black Power movement, representing one of the most significant periods in the growth and blossoming of African-American literature (Pitney 23).
The 1960s was a period of black rediscovery. The black American wanted to assert his cultural and social identity, having realized that he had been subject to racialism and subjugation for far too long. Most of the movements that emerged during this period used various forms of art to pass their message across that time has come for the blacks to take full charge over their lives and destiny (Mike 280).
It was during the Black Arts Era that many blacks were inspired to start their own publishing houses, theaters, magazines, novels, and art institutions, aimed at instilling a voice of demanding their rights from a society that was overly biased towards the whites. According to Mike, the era is “notable for its sophisticated and politically inflected drama, theater, and performance” (278).
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. adhered to the overall philosophy of this era by fighting for the injustices presented to blacks through engaging their strong oratory prowess as a form of art to appeal to blacks to be strong in the face of adversity and demand what is rightfully theirs.
Luther’s ‘I have a dream’ speech is still remembered to date for rallying the black American community to espouse their identity and willingness of both mind and character to fully take charge of their own destiny (Pitney 47). It is imperative to note that both King and Malcolm fought against the injustices from the confines of Civil Rights movement.
Both King and Malcolm were young and charismatic leaders, exuding a lot of confidence in the public gatherings they attended, thereby drawing huge, almost fanatical following.
Despite their common goals of demanding for equality, the styles of the two men were interestingly divergent, and their philosophies for achieving the stated purpose of fighting injustices equally different. King was a staunch campaigner of employing non-violent demonstrations and civil disobedience as a means of triggering social change in the white-dominated society (Mike 282).
On the other hand, Malcolm X was a firm believer that all methods, including violent actions, should be used to wage a spirited war on the perceived oppressors, with the explicit aim of changing the status quo which equated a black person to someone who could not be in control of his own destiny, and therefore required to be led.
The activists employed the above styles to achieve their purpose – equality and independence of the minority black community. Their strong oratory prowess ensured the sense of purpose and financial independence were also engrained in the mindsets of the black populace.
According to Mike, the leaders’ “…saw the situated, communitarian, and traditionalist implications of the spoken word as the best way to articulate a critical philosophy anchored in everyday activism” (278). Their purpose of ensuring equality was realized, but not before both of them paid the ultimate prize of death for waging the campaign to free the Black Americans from the chains of racism and subjugation
The audiences targeted by King and Malcolm were personalities in authority as well as members of the black community. To those in power, mainly from the mainstream white society, King and Malcolm wanted to see them enact legislation that would eventually recognize the blacks as human beings with similar fundamental rights as members of the white community (Pitney 64).
Both King and Malcolm also appealed to the blacks themselves to stand up to the occasion and be counted as Americans rather than as members of a minority group. It was an uphill task to instill confidence in Black Americans that they should stand up for their rights especially after undergoing many years of subjugation, but the movement of the 60s swept across America like a volatile hurricane, delivering blacks from a myriad of social and political problems that existed before
Mike, S. The Voice of Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and Logocentricism. In: D. Krasner & D.Z. Saltz (Eds) Staging Philosophy: Intersections of Theater, Performance, and Philosophy. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. 2006
Pitney, D.H. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle in the 1950’s and 1960’s: A Brief History with Documents. Michigan: Bedford/St Martins. 2004
“Why We can’t Wait” by Martin Luther King (Jr) Essay
The significance of Martin Luther’s letter from his Birmingham state jail was not an ordinary address over the state of affairs or writing to indicate the state of wellbeing in custody. He was quick to emphasize confidently that the reason for writing the letter was not in response to criticism but to the injustice, which was persistent in Birmingham. The reason Martin Luther as the leader of Southern Christian Conference found himself in jail was due to participating in a non-violent direct action involvement.
The letter is a strong response in support of the role of activists in delivering freedom for the people. He also brings out the importance of recognizing need for interrelated states and societies, by presenting the mission of enhancing justice, as a request from affiliated religious groups in Birmingham.
The writer strongly points out that existence of injustice at a certain place is an indirect threat of existing justice in other places. Martin Luther was concern with interrelation of state and justice for all. One clear indication is that people are in a mutually connected system focusing on a single destiny and there is no escape other than focusing on the anticipatable destiny.
The letter clearly indicates how the states disapprove demonstrations but administration lacks concern thus fails to substantiate the required actions against the injustices. Injustice causes people to consider demonstrations such as those by the religious activists at Birmingham. The writing also brings out another side of the situations. Martin Luther’s letter is a response to alterations by fellow clergymen (Jackson, p.97).
He strongly points how the state authorities tongue-tie those in authority or religious leaders who are supposed to fight for other’s rights. They consequently end up failing to react accordingly. He robustly condemns the clergymen for accusations based on the effects of peaceful demonstrations rather than focusing and standing by the reasons that lead to such public reactions.
Comprehensible signals in support of non-violent actions such as the occurrences at Birmingham must first involve compilation of viable facts that clearly indicate existence of injustice, negotiation for change, personal purity on the matter and then direct action eventually if every action fails.
If the clergymen sat together and decided on the procedures as stated in the letter, then they were reacting unreasonably by segregating and allowing racial injustice in Birmingham. The writer also apparently outlines the negligence or unfairness of the courts due to the unjust treatment accorded to members of a certain race particularly the Black Americans (Jackson, p.87).
Just like the contemporary situation, most cases remain unsolved due to injustice or corruption. Segregation against some communities, ethnical or religious groups may persist due to lack of harmony between the leaders from the extreme ends. A good example in Martin Luther’s letter is the high rates of attacks on homes and churches of the Black American in Birmingham. The leaders of the blacks were willing to talk through the situation and solve the issues out of good faith, but faced repulsion (Jackson, p.87).
In relation to Jackson’s writing (p.88), Martin Luther’s letter from the Birmingham jail is a true reflection of current phenomenon where the minority suffer from uncared for requests and broken or empty promises by their leaders. He indicates in the letter how they pressed for elimination of the racial-segregating stores at Birmingham, but influents places a legal postponement of the fulfilments and obligations and eventually the implementation was evaded (Jackson, p.88).
Rules are often a clear legal agreement, but the authorities remain reluctant to react or implement the accord, therefore the same authorities partially implement and abandon the rules later or disregard the proposed rules without consultations.
Just as indicated, in the letter people react or demand through direct action due to shattered hopes and disappointments by their leaders (Jackson, p.88). Direct action means that demonstrators have only one option, that of physically presenting themselves to the authorities to trigger their cognisant that rules require implementation and application.
In the modern United States, one would expect that negotiations exist as the only procedures, thus no need for mass action. The peaceful direct action is an option for seeking or forcing unsuccessful negotiation or demands for the poorly implemented agreements. The action triggers need for negotiations through creation of tension or crisis. Activists plan for direct involvement by strategically finding the colluding instances, where crisis would arise and dramatise the situation for quick responses.
Like today’s activists, Martin Luther is in support of constructive non-violent form of tension that causes neutralization of racism and prejudice thus promoting brotherliness (Jackson, p.90). Tensions due to a crisis-packed situation often brings rise to negotiations and solutions. It is a wake-up call for the leaders to live in dialogue.
The clergy inquire why the action had to occur very soon, but from the letter, today people are able to apply similar form of reasoning whereby new administration need to act in a similar manner as the outgoing if not better. The tension created on a past regime must be consistent and thus incumbent administration must correspond similarly to the good administration of the past.
This is for the reason that most leaders are segregationists who aim at maintaining the status quo instead of administering change (Jackson, p.91). According to Jackson (p.91), the letter indicated that the privileged government personas rarely give up their privileges voluntarily.
The required freedom is achievable through demands from the oppressed not freewill of the oppressor. The leaders are fond of the word “Wait”, and the subsequent waits easily translate to different meaning primarily “Never.” In the contemporary administrative setting, justice delayed is justice denied. While other countries such as developing countries are speedily implementing new rules, the developed countries such as the U.S. have faced poor growth of political independence (Jackson, p.91).
In response to the allegations that activists who fight segregation are anxious and willing to break laws, the letter clarifies some effects of segregation such as fear. Prejudiced people live in fear of not knowing the probable outcome and live by intimidation. Such persons have inner apprehensions and outer bitterness in fight of ever-degenerating senses.
These situations compromise endurance and causes people to plummet into the abyss of despair, thus failure to practice patience when pleaded to wait. An aspect of waiting fails to resonate in such minds (Jackson, p.93).
The accused activists are actually protesting for adherence to the law by their leaders as opposed to breaking the law. According to Jackson (p.91), it is paradoxical for one to break a law while advocating for another. Today’s leaders must realize the existence of just and unjust regulations, and they are obligated to moral practices in support for justice for all and as a responsibly to disobey the unreasonable and unjustifiable rules.
In vindicating justice, Martin Luther puts a clear difference between just and unjust laws. Just is the human composed law that have a connection to the moral law, while the unjust codes or laws that are out of harmony and often fail to relate to the moral or God’s expectations, which is the natural form of law.
Justifiable form of rule has to uplift the soul and personality, thus giving any form of segregation inferiority effects and false senses. In accordance with Martin Luther’s letter, segregation is not only a political matter, but also a social wrong and an immoral act (Jackson, p.94).
As frequently evident in our current political systems, injustice occurs due to existence of code supported by majority but for the minority group to obey. This makes injustice different as an illegal act while just law is one, which majority compel to but minority follow through personal will. In this case, equality becomes legal (Jackson, p.95).
Leaders are implementing just laws on the outside while the same laws are unjust in the inside. Laws permit approved form of peaceful parades but they uphold segregation, by denying members of a certain group right to peacefully assemble and hold demonstrations.
The article is a clear indication that activists are people who break the unjust laws willingly, openly and are ready to accept any penalty that may arise because the aim is to arouse conscience of the community leaders over need to respect and practice justice.
Like the earlier religious faithful and political activists, peaceful demonstration is a common form of civil disobedience in modern U.S., where the protesters fight whenever moral law is at stake.
Socrates defied compliance to stipulated civil law because his conscience point out that the terms were against the divine law, which was more superior. The political laws are often contradicting moral principles and compromising human freedom. If the political principals compromise human faith, then it is fine to have an open advocacy for antireligious laws.
In comparison to the dated social settings, people currently still face more frustration from poor or superficial understanding by freewill as opposed to the absolute misunderstanding by those of ill will. Mere acceptance is thus more painful than clear rejection (Jackson, p.97).
In his letter, Martin Luther emphasized on the use and existence of the law for establishing justice. Failure to implement justice blocks flow of social progress. People have to accept the dignity and worthiness of human personality by un-hiding tension for justifiable action to take place.
The act of barring individuals from gaining basic constitutional rights for the reason that this would precipitate violence is punishing the dishonoured. The act of racial injustice is a solid block to social context of human dignity. The article shows support of excellent technique of non-violence procedures of protesting against injustice, which is practical and integral in today’s struggle for human rights (Jackson, p.101).
According to Jackson (p.110), oppression leads to segregation but it rarely remains that way forever. Currently, it is evident that non-violent actions for justice create the required tension when dialogue fails. It gives power to the activists to accept the label of extremists for the need to achieve good and preserve justice for all.
In line with Jackson’s text, (p.105), the main cause of despair involve pretending activists, for instance the religious groups who made up in support of the non-violent free actions but end up supporting the unjust form of governances or awkward forms of worldly practices. They pretend in support of religious rules but end up supporting secular or government policies.
Jackson, Jesse. “Why We Can’t Wait: By Martin Luther King (Jr.)”. New York, NY: New American Library-Penguin Group. 2000. Print.
Comparing Views on the Feminism of Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King Research Paper
Women as victims of prejudice
Wollstonecraft argues that women should have an education matching with their positions in society as they are important to the nation as teachers to their children and as companions to their husbands and that double standards hinder women from their full potential.
She further argued that it was the education and upbringing of women that created limited expectations, she attacked gender oppression, pressing for equal educational opportunities and justice and rights to humanity for all. Mary Wollstonecraft believed that education was the key to the end of discrimination against women and that if women were given this education would make women and men equal in the field of education.
This means that if women are given and encouraged to have the same level of education as the men than the society would be a much better place as both the female and male genders would both work for the good of the society at large. Double standards in the society should be abolished as it makes the women feel inferior when compared and contrasted alongside their male counterparts.
According to Abernathy, (470-473) Martin Luther King Jr. was engaged in extramarital affairs and was obsessed with white prostitutes, King used church donations for sex parties. This shows that Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed a powerful man in his times and many women were attracted to his power. These extramarital affairs were at times recorded by FBI through bugs placed strategically in hotel rooms.
King wanted women to hold positions of power so that they would not be attracted to men for the sake of their positions in society but rather for love. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality among the races he wanted all races to be treated the same way as none was inferior to another. His fight to end racial segregation, he won and all the races could sit anywhere they pleased in buses, buy food form any counter, use the same rest rooms in restaurants, and occupy the same sitting places.
Comparing Wollstonecraft’s views with Martin Luther King Jr. about how women are victims of prejudice we see both scholar fought for equality and equity in the society, Wollstonecraft may have exclusively talked about women, but Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the same things collectively in the society and for both genders.
According to Wollstonecraft, women are prejudiced against, education, decision making and they were seen as homemakers whose work was to stay at home looking after the children and taking acre of their husbands while their husbands made all the decisions concerning them, the family and the society at large. In reference to Martin Luther King Jr. women were discriminated due to their color, and the level of education. They were seen as inferior to men and confined to the homes.
Similarities between Wollstonecraft’s time and King’s time
Common things that can be seen in the women of Wollstonecraft time and the time of Martin Luther King Jr. is that both the women of these times in question struggled to attain freedom and independence from their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft’s ideas about equality in the society are alike to those of Martin Luther King Jr. King had observed and felt the prejudice African Americans endured and had decided to put an end to it or at least try.
He was resolved to pick up the hopeless conditions for African Americans. King’s values in equal rights and equal chances were the driving forces in the African American fight for justice. Women in King’s time were not only discriminated against because of their gender but also due to the color of their skin.
King recalls a time he told his daughter she could not go to an amusement park because of the color of her skin. Jacobus (186). Such words could make a child feel as if she is not entitled to enjoy her childhood and hate herself for being the race she is. King could not do anything much about it as those were laws at the time. So his daughter could not go to the amusement park simply because she was black.
Central Political issues
King’s endeavors resulted to the 1963 protest on Washington for jobs and freedom where he gave his famous ‘I have dream speech’. The protest made some demands that included; an end to racial separation in self public schools, major civil liberties legislation, regulations eliminating racial segregation in work places, safe guard of civil rights workers from law enforcement cruelty.
Patterson (482-85) notes “a minimum wage for all workers $2, Washington, D.C. the march and the speech combined was successful and helped put civil rights at the top of the liberal political agenda and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Thanks to the march organized by Martin Luther King Jr. racial segregation came to an end and people of all races were treated equally and awarded the same perks everywhere they went.
This also allowed women to take part in the political arena and assist in decision making that involved all people in the society. Public schools also stooped racial discrimination and offered education to children of all races and graded the students according to their mental abilities not their skin colors.
According to Wendell (65-94), “Mary Wollstonecraft, in her influential writings, encouraged the society point of outlook and supported women to use their voices when it came to decision making separate from the decisions that were already made for the woman earlier.”
Wollstonecraft wanted ‘person hood’ for women and pointed out that if men were subjected to the same situations as women they would develop the same characteristics they used to discriminate against women. Wollstonecraft wanted society to recognize and acknowledge the woman as an individual and not part of a man.
She wanted to do away with the patriarchal system of society where men made all the decisions regarding all members of society and allow women to make decisions that affect them, themselves. She wanted a society where both men and women would come together and make decisions that would be of benefit to both genders and also show that women could be leaders in the society and they do not have to continue living in men’s shadow. (Patterson, 58)
Both King and Wollstonecraft, through their works brought about radical changes in the world as we know it. Women have been more active in decision making processes around the world and they hold high positions in their countries. For example; Hillary Clinton who is the Secretary of State in United States of America, Condoleezza Rice an African American who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State not forgetting President Sir leaf Johnson of Liberia just to mention but a few.
These women would not have occupied these offices of power without the feminist movement that Mary Wollstonecraft was a big part of and without the fight against racial segregation which was championed by Martin Luther King Jr.
Mary Wollstonecraft might see herself in the same kind of struggle as Martin Luther King Jr. because they were both fighting for acceptance in the community. The only different thing was their skin color and the fact that King was fighting for a whole race to be accepted and treated fairly not only a section of the race. Both of these personalities fought for the equity of their people and they got it, it may have taken a long time to come but victory in the end was theirs and where credit was due it was given.
Both these personalities although at different times and places knew how to get their concerns to the people through their speeches and writings, they got people to accept their views and start changing their ways of life in relation to the views of the discriminated against in the society.
They were patient and when the movements started forming they were there to act as leaders and also to support their works so that it may not be used negatively. They related to their causes because they had gone through the discrimination and segregation from their communities due to their skin color and gender.
In conclusion both Mary Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for what they believed in and they were relentless when it came to airing their views concerning feminism and racial segregation respectively.
Martin Luther King Jr. being a male African American not only fought for the rights and privileged of the African American male but also for the rights, privileges and freedom of women. Both these personalities opened a new world to the people both male and female, a world where women and men despite their race could together towards common good of all.
If feminism had not taken root or the fight for racial segregation had not been planted, where would the world be today? The world today owes so much to these tow personalities and for their influential works that opened the, mindsets of many people hence coming up with the world we have today. Even though there is still discrimination based on gender and race, it is far much better than the olden days as people form different races and gender can see eye to eye without a problem.
Abernathy, David. And the Walls Came Tumbling Down. New York: Harper & Row, 1989, Print.
Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 4thy ed. Boston: Bedford press, 1994. Print
Patterson, James Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print
Wendell, Susan. “A (Qualified) Defense of Liberal Feminism,” Hypatia 2, no. 2 (Summer 1987)
Wollstonecraft. Mary. A vindication of the rights of woman. New York: Penguin Classics, 1992. Print
Reliability of King’s arguments Essay
The major conclusion of the part of Martin Luther King’s speech touching upon the issue of Ho Chi Min’s land reform is that this reform was benevolent for the peasants, and can be categorized as “one of the most important needs in their lives” (King “A Time to Break Silence”). The assessment of the reliability of this assertion requires a thorough analysis of the deductive process as well as the provided evidence and fallacies in it if any.
The reasoning used by King for evaluating the effects of Ho Chi Min’s land reform is deductive because it moves from general to specific. King’s major premise is that all peasants are interested in land. The minor premise is that Ho Chi Min’s reform was aimed at the redistribution of the land among the peasants.
The conclusion which King forces from these premises is that Ho Chi Min’s land reform was beneficial for the people of Vietnam. Still, this conclusion cannot be regarded as a valid one because there are particular fallacies in the deductive reasoning which provides only partial support for the conclusion.
The main sources of the invalid deductive conclusion include Argumentum ad Hominem, all or nothing and cultural fallacies. King criticizes Diem, Chi Min’s opponent, defining him as one of the most vicious modern dictators, thus, attacking him as an individual rather than as a political figure, without describing any Diem’s significant actions and their consequences for the nation.
The all or nothing fallacy of King’s deductive reasoning is based upon the opposition of the two political leaders and assuming that if one of them is bad, another is supposed to be good and his reforms are hypothesized to be benevolent for the population.
The two above-mentioned fallacies are complimented with the cultural error, the presentation of the information from the culturally-limited perspective, assuming that the US views and system of beliefs are superior to Vietnamese inner policies. This assumption enables the author of the speech to make judgments as to the benefits and the primer needs of Vietnamese people in general and peasants in particular.
In general, King’s reasoning lacks evidence because it consists of the speaker’s personal judgments which are not supported with the historically accurate details and relevant information. The evaluation of the land reform without describing it in details is inadmissible. Thus, King categorizes the Vietnamese dictators as bad and good, using his personal opinion and not supporting his assumptions with any weighty arguments.
The lack of information on the character, details and consequences of Chi Min’s reform is the major drawback of King’s argumentation. “Reliability is the degree of confidence that is placed in the truth of a proposition” (Swensson “Logic and the Essay”). Taking into account the described fallacies of the argumentation along with the lack of evidence, the reliability of King’s proposition concerning the benevolence of the land reform is rather low.
Though the major premise of the deductive reasoning is true and generalization concerning land as one of the primer interests of peasants is relevant, the minor premise concerning the redistribution of land by Chi Min without specifying the terms of the reform is insufficient for supporting the proposition concerning the benefits of this reform for the population.
The analysis of the deductive process, premises, and the evidence used by King in his speech A Time to Break Silence shows that they were insufficient for supporting the conclusion concerning the benevolence of Chi Min’s land reform because of the fallacies in the reasoning as well as the lack of evidence.
King, Martin Luther. “A Time to Break Silence”. Deanza College Website. n.d. Web.
Swensson, John. “Logic and the Essay”. Deanza College Website. n.d. Web.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Rhetorical Analysis Essay
On April 19, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) wrote a detailed letter from Birmingham Jail in reply to some public releases which were directed at undermining his fight for civil equality. Most of the Martin Luther statements were very rhetorical, whereby he employed Aristotle’s kinds of persuasion to convince his audience. He made use of ethos, pathos, and logos, which are directed towards his own reputation and wisdom, to have the attention of the audience and to have the logic of influential thinkers, respectively. This “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Rhetorical Analysis Essay aims at defining a list of rhetorical devices used in the letter with examples.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Rhetorical Analysis of the First Paragraphs
Rhetorical devices are present from the first paragraph. In his efforts to promote civil rights on behalf of the American community, he starts by explaining his state of confinement in the jail, which is a clear indication of how the poor are suffering in the hands of an unjust society. He further states that he would wish to respond to their recent statements that his activities are unwise and untimely. This is meant to let the clergymen understand that Martin Luther King Jr. was well aware of their mind.
He proceeds to say that if he decided to look at each criticism that comes through his office, he would have no time for his work. In this statement, Luther King wants to let his critics know that his civil rights work is far much significant than the criticism they have been directing towards him and that they would rather concentrate on their work since he has no time to direct towards their attacks. He also terms their criticism as genuine and set forth as a way of showing them that he can understand the reason behind their criticism.
He further indicates in the second paragraph the fact that the clergymen have an issue with outsiders coming into the city, whereby he intends to let them know that though they are against him, many are on his side since he states that it was an invitation.
This again appears in the fourth paragraph, where he says that as long as a person is within the United States, no one should claim that he is an outsider. He also states that “I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian leadership conference” (King 1) to show them he equally holds a religious leadership position as they do, and he has the right to exercise his faith.
What Type of Appeal Is Martin Luther King, Jr. Using from the Third to Fifth Paragraphs?
In the third paragraph, he likens himself with Paul to make it clear that he is a prophet of freedom and liberation, just like Paul. Claiming that he has been sent by Jesus shows that he has a very high authority in the religious field, and though people may be against him, God is on his side. Just as Jesus sent his disciples all over the world to take the gospel, Martin Luther makes it clear that he came to Birmingham due to the injustice that was prevailing.
In the fourth paragraph, Martin Luther says that “moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states” (King 2). He wanted to have his audience understand that he belonged to the congregation of the elites, and he has sufficient wisdom to put his opinions across. When he mentions the city’s white power structure, he wanted to trigger the mind of his critics who were only concerned with the demonstrations that were taking place rather than the reason behind these demonstrations.
In the fifth paragraph, he proceeds to mention that “the ugly records of brutality” (King 2) in Birmingham are widely known. This further insisted that his critics were less concerned with the more critical issues such as injustice that Negroes were facing in the city by trying to hinder those who were fighting for this justice. It is evident since even after he had taken the legal steps towards all his activities, he was still being discriminated against.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Rhetorical Analysis from the Seventh to Fourteenth Paragraphs
In the seventh paragraph, he states that ‘we were victims of a broken promise’ to show that regardless of the agreement they had made earlier on to remove any sign of racial discrimination, the rest were not concerned apart from his assembly. In paragraph eight, he says that “our hopes had been blasted and the shadows of deep disappointment settled upon us” (King 4).
This shows that the King would recognize the faults but does not wish to blame anyone. The phrase “that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood” (King 4) was meant to unite all people in the fight against racism.
Rhetorical Analysis of the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” shows that In the fourteenth paragraph, King uses his logical, non-threatening appeal to show the urgency of his civil right actions in the city. He puts it clear that people have endured long enough and that there are now becoming impatient with the way events are unfolding every day. He supports his argument in the next paragraph, where he puts it across that they have been governed by a combination of unjust and just law whereby there is a need to separate the two.
The above discussion is just but a few of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” rhetorical appeals representations. Throughout his letter, King uses strong, almost unquestionable logic that makes his piece of writing very outstanding due to its unique method of development.
King Luther. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Stanford University, 1964. Web.
Martin Luther King Essay
Letter from Birmingham jail is a document which was written by Martin Luther King in response to a letter that was written by clergymen from the Southern town meant to persuade the blacks to end demonstrations. It was very significant in the struggle of the blacks towards equality as it inspired them to continue fighting until they acquired racial equality.
There were many themes that were covered in the letter which are inclusive of the necessity for a non violent action, difference between just and unjust law as well as Martin’s opinion regarding the failure of the God’s people to take their full responsibility.
Therefore, the main aim of the letter was to push for the changing of the unjust laws as well as upholding the Supreme Court ruling of the year 1954. With that background in mind, the essay shall focus on Martin Luther definition of some issues like Revolution and compare the same with the description of other people like Henry David Thoreau.
Revolution has been defined differently by different people. The letter illustrates clearly that the only way to achieve revolution is through an action characterized by strength, determination and persistence. Martin’s letter explains that a non violent action which is usually taken after observing the need for freedom can be termed as revolution. He continues to clarify that those people who have grasped the meaning of social revolution are people like Lillian Smith and McGill who have written about the struggle of the blacks.
Therefore, according to Martin Luther, revolution is all about realizing the need for a powerful action that can solve the problem of segregation. Similarly, Jefferson believes that revolution does not involve violent actions. He explains that there is a difference between war and revolution. War occurs when the government helps to identify the bad people while revolution takes place due to people’s initiatives (Jefferson and Woods).
According to Marin Luther King, an extremist is any person who strongly persuades people to act and believe into what he believes is the right way (King). For instance, he says that the reason why he had been termed as an extremist is due to the approach he uses to tell people of how they can solve their discontent through a non violence direct action.
He applies the term extremist to illustrate people who made a difference in the society by being extremists in a positive manner. For instance, Jesus was an extremist for love and ended up even advising people to love even their enemies.
He emphasizes that the problem is not being an extremist but the type of an extremist one is. Martin Luther uses relevant examples is his explanation of he term extremist which is very significant as it helps people to grasp and understand what he is talking about more easily (King).
Martin Luther King was greatly influenced by Henry David Thoreau although they existed in different eras. Both wrote about the contemporary issues and are aimed at achieving justice and equality in the society.
David Thoreau may have laid the foundation for Martin Luther in many ways but the fact that Luther used to read Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience must have been very influential. This is due to the fact that Luther came to adapt the same method of using nonviolent ways to stop evil in the society (Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau on Boundaries).
It is not only the content that makes Martin’s letter interesting but also the style and rhythm. The paragraphs and sentences are well developed and his use of repletion helps reinforce his points. Since he was raised in a well up background, he was able to obtain some education which helped him greatly in developing and presenting his ideas.
Moreover, he wanted to make sure all the blacks would get a chance to enjoy the social amenities he was able to enjoy as a child. His father was also actively involved in the fight for the rights of the black people. Therefore, the character of Martin Luther which is illustrated in his major works is a result of not only hard work, but also his background.
Jefferson, Thomas & Brett F. Woods. Thomas Jefferson: Thoughts on War and Revolution. New York : Algora Publishing, 2009. Print.
King, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. 1963. Web.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau on Boundaries. 2009. Web.