Essay about Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.

Essay about Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.

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We must glimpse the past if we are to construct a better future. Many may ask themselves, “Who am I?” but it is the revelry in understanding that basically our future lies in the past, such that it can only be answered by, “Where do I come from?” Looking to great leaders from our past bridges our connection to our future. Martin Luther King and now President Obama are excellent representations of this connection. Both faced the issues that plague America’s past, even though they are a part of different time periods. There are two specific works that address these some of these issues, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” written by Martin Luther King Jr. and the speech given by Barack Obama, “A More Perfect Union.” Although “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and the “A More Perfect Union” speech both address the issues of racial inequality, discrimination, and other underlying moral injustices, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” had the greater impact on the American society.
Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” was a response to some of the clergymen of Birmingham. This letter addressed the criticism he received while peacefully protesting. It was also a response to the injustices he witnessed and experienced while visiting the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Birmingham branch. He explains how he and the SCLC organized their plans of nonviolent action for change in not only the segregated schools in Alabama, but for the discriminated people of America. Dr. King declares, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied” (344). He states that African American people have waited more than 340 years for constitutional and God-given rights (King 344). His pleas for recognition of the mass injustices and his assemblies of nonviol...


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...Also the modes of writing for each work are different. Obama’s speech is written in the reflective mode. Whereas Dr. King’s letter was written in the argumentative mode. Dr. King is arguing for the basic moral rights of people. He is telling the Birmingham clergy members that a change is necessary and should be warranted. Obama reflects on the issues that Dr. King faced and his own battles with discrimination.
Therefore as we seek answers to our future, we must reflect on our faults of the past if we are to improve as a society. Martin Luther King and others fought for all races to be treated equally. We have to shift beyond this mindset that change is an unacceptable concept; just as Barack Obama stated in his speech. Thus to grow, not only as a community, but also as individuals, we must learn not to repeat past mistakes and we must move toward future triumphs.

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