Dr. Martin Luther King 's Letter From The Birmingham City Jail Essays

Dr. Martin Luther King 's Letter From The Birmingham City Jail Essays

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In Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham City Jail, King speaks about the society he and all other African Americans are living in. He starts to discuss just and unjust laws and states the difference between the two: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” Most people, at the time, thought that if a law is in place, it is for the better of society. The idea held by mostly white America that the brutality the police officers are inflicting on civilians who fight against systemic racism as a way to keep order adds to Kings problems with the current state of society. He is fighting against the ‘white moderate’, who is the white person who, although, is not part of the KKK, would rather have “negative peace without justice than a positive peace with justice”. Among all these subpoints that King brings up, the commonly held view that he is arguing against is racism. Mainly, he is arguing against the way that people are trying to justify their racism through laws or loopholes in the laws. For example, King describes unjust laws put into place due to the fact that African Americans had been barred from voting. He asks the question of how segregation in Alabama was legal when the person it was enacted upon couldn 't vote. Thus he brings to light that this law could, in no way, be democratically structured. Still common today, the idea that a law is a law no matter what ignored the needs of the African Americans in society.
Building on King 's beliefs about society 's views on the treatment of African Americans and how the African American community should deal with it, King 's intentions are to support the idea of just a...


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...rying to “merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” (page 296). Throughout the letter, King is presenting notions of how African Americans are being mistreated under the false veil of the betterment of society. By speaking of the police force used against the protesters to keep order and prevent violence (page 297), he is contradicting the idea of no standard for good or evil again. His argument that no one would commend the police officers so warmly if they had seen the police dogs “literally biting six unarmed, nonviolent Nergroes” (page 297) just further proves he thinks there is a standard for good or evil. That standard, being further supported by Kings definition of just and unjust laws (page 294), is that to be good you must want to better society and go about it in a moral way, and not use the law to oppress your fellow citizens,

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