Letter from Birmingham Jail an Analysis From a jail cell in Alabama we get a clear look into the philosophy and mindset of Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. King was jailed in the Birmingham city jail for participating in a non violent protest in Birmingham, Alabama. He believed that through non violent protest he could create enough pressure and tension throughout the communities, that they would be more willing to negotiate real change, in regards to racial equality in the 1960's. As you may know, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray.
You may not know that there was a wrongful death suit that suggested that others might have been involved.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born In Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929. Martin Luther King Jr.'s father, Martin Luther King, Sr. was a Baptist Minister that supported racial equality in the 20th century. It is no doubt that Martin Luther King Jr.'s father would have a major impact on his son. Martin Luther King Jr. would go on to arguably have the biggest impact on civil rights and racial equality than any other man. Along with Martin Luther King Jr.'s father, Mr. King was also influenced by Gandhi, especially in regards to Gandhi's effective use of passive resistance.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from his Alabama jail cell is partially directed toward community leaders that are criticizing his tactics. Although the letter is primarily directed as a rebuttal to that criticism, his letter holds deeper truths overall. The criticism consists of believing that Mr. King should allow the courts or justice system to get the desired change and that Mr. King is an agitator or extremist.
In his Letter from Birmingham Jail you can see that Mr. King is not affected by people with bad or evil intent. He has no expectations of those that have bad intentions; to him they are what they are. Mr. King's frustration is with people that seem good, but are unwilling to challenge the status quo.
His Letter from Birmingham Jail illustrates this indignation towards those that suggest, we should be patient, or give more time for things to change. In other words, passively do nothing and hope for the best. Mr. King rejects this notion-
In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Mr. King talks about how time is neutral. Time can be used for good or bad, but the rationale or reasoning, that the simple passing of time can effect change is an erroneous conclusion. In fact he believed that bad people used time much more effectively than good people simply doing nothing, hoping for the best.
In my opinion, Mr. King believes that if you just wait it out and do nothing you are literally worse than people of ill intent. Time marches on for them and they march with it. You are not doing anything by sitting on your hands; but just giving evil the carte blanche to do as it wishes, with all the time it needs to accomplish it. Time goes in favor of those unwilling to change, or in other words, if you do nothing, that is going to be the results:nothing or worse.
Mr. King believes that not only will we all have to someday acknowledge the things we have actually done wrong but also acknowledge that we kept silent or did nothing about injustice, as well.
Martin Luther King Jr. Answers His Critics
Martin Luther King Jr. was called an extremist by his detractors and by people that should have supported him. At first, Mr. King was dismayed and disappointed at being called an extremist. Afterward, Mr. King realized that many people throughout history have been labeled extreme, when fighting for justice or a good cause. Mr. King cites many people from history that were called extreme, yet are counted as some of the most important people in history. He concludes that there are two types of extremists; extremists for good and extremists that attempt to preserve that which is wrong in the world.