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Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail

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Chuck Milositz

19 July 2011

Mr. Lotti

English Composition II

Journal 1

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr's, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", holds high importance in American history because this document explains in detail the trials and tribulations, struggles, negativity and rejection from society, and feats taken to end the segregation movement of the late 1950's through the 1960's. Rev. King wrote this letter in a jail cell to prove that he and his followers would pursue at any cost, to obtain the same equal rights, freedoms, and liberties as the white man currently had at this time in history. The letter was written in response to a statement printed in the Birmingham Newspaper, written by eight clergymen, explaining that the clergymen felt that Rev. King's nonviolent march in Birmingham was "unwise and untimely", furthermore, that the demonstration in itself was showing negativity towards the church and moral order.

On Good Friday in 1963, fifty-three blacks, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched into downtown Birmingham to protest the existing segregation laws. The Birmingham, Alabama

laws at the time, during the segregation movement, stated that a permit was required for any type of parade, as long as it was the white man applying for the permit. For if it was the Negro applying for the permit, the Negro would be rejected from having an application for a permit accepted. Rev. King, leading the march of a nonviolent demonstration to end segregation, was placed in jail for "parading" without a permit.

The message which is perceived in Rev. King's writing is that regardless of gender, race, color, or creed, ALL MEN deserve the same rights, liberties, and freedoms in America. The message also proves that our forefathers, through the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that ALL MEN are created equal. Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves, however, racism was still ramped like a disease. Society of the twenty-first century shows there are still active measures of racism. The United States of America needs to be a society of diversity, and without diversity, society is unjust.



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