Letter from Birmingham Prison
The struggle for civil liberties and civil liberty by African American in the United States of America produced some of the darkest days in American history. Till this day, majority of Americans despite race or color look back at that period with regret. Dr Martin Luther King, a prominent leader in the civil liberties motion was persecuted by his oppressors however he stood firm non-stop in the defend equivalent rights for African Americans mainly because we were fighting for a simply trigger.
The letter from Birmingham Prison is a reaction by Dr King to statements by eight Alabama Clergymen denouncing using street protests by Dr King’s organization in the fight for civil liberty. Critics of Dr King’s philosophy on civil disobedience argue that the actions of his company are well against civil law however in his letter, Dr. King tries to persuade the opposition about the importance of street demonstrations or civil disobedience in the fight for equality for all individuals.
He expresses his opposition to partition from an ethical perspective, rational point of view as well as a psychological plea to sway an audience into action in a quest to attain civil liberty and equivalent rights for Black individuals. Although the letter was a direct reply to the clergymen’s declarations, it served a wider function by likewise connecting to the big middle class which was made up primarily of moderate white Americans. In his reaction, Dr King uses a subtle and persuasive technique in an attempt to sway critics of his philosophical views on civil disobedience.
By composing the letter, Dr Kings intent was to sway people who held opposing views from his, bringing completely to share an understanding. Understanding that the middle class makes up generally of moderate Americans who are opposed to severe views and actions and very much inline with religions and worths, Dr Kings used this opportunity to challenge the conscience of the group. Evidence of this is displayed in the letter where he composes: “Need to make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers.
First, I must confess that over the previous few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have actually almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s terrific stumbling block in his stride toward liberty is not the White Person’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, however the white moderate, who is more dedicated to “purchase” than to justice; who chooses a negative peace which is the lack of stress to a positive peace which is the existence of justice; who continuously says: “I agree with ou in the goal you look for, however I can not agree with your approaches of direct action”; who paternalistically thinks he can set the timetable for another man’s flexibility; who lives by a legendary idea of time and who continuously encourages the Negro to wait for a “easier season.” Shallow understanding from individuals of good will is more discouraging than absolute misunderstanding from individuals of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is far more overwelming than straight-out rejection. “(M. L.
K, 1963, April 16) This shows that he is in touch with the views of his audience giving him the capability to make a fantastic effect on the reader. The opposition held the view that civil disobedience and street demonstration were unjust, simply because it protested the law. Laws are principles and regulations that are developed in a neighborhood by some authority and is applicable it individuals. I believe that argument presented by Dr King’s opposition is that there is no justification to breaking a law.
However, in my viewpoint there might be moral justifications in breaking a law depending on the nature of the situation. Hence, I concur with Dr King’s philosophical view on civil disobedience. “To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjustified law is a human law that is not rooted in everlasting law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human character is simply. Any law that degrades human character is unfair.
All segregation statutes are unjustified because segregation misshapes the soul and harms the character. “(M. L. K, 1963, April 16) The African American civil liberties motion used civil disobedience as a way of getting their voice heard by the masses and opposition. Those demonstrations are sensible from a moral perspective because African Americans unjustifiably had their rights denied by their oppressors and used civil disobedience as a method to acquire their God-given rights.
According to my beliefs, it is unethical to go against the rule of law without legitimate need but it is morally understandable to do so in due cause such as the case of Dr King and the African American Civil Rights movement. Appropriately, there is also a rational viewpoint to civil disobedience which Dr King likewise uses eloquently in his letter. He addressed the declarations made by the clergymen which called his actions “risky and untimely”.