Posted: March 24th, 2023

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. fought against racism and called for equality. In fact, based on his struggle, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Birmingham jail. While in prison, he wrote a letter to explain some of his actions. He gave reasons on the purpose and how the effectiveness of the non-violent direct action. Firstly, he knew that the action would create a crisis, which would lead to tension, thus forcing the oppressed community to challenge the problem. The action would highlight the issue that has long been overlooked. Luther was against the violent tension but greatly advocated for non-violent tension since it was significant for growth. Therefore, it is clear that King advocated for non-violent direct action since it created a situation that was packed with crisis, thus opening a window for negotiation between the oppressors and the oppressed.

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In his response to the charge that his movement was too extreme, Luther said that the fellow clergymen who viewed his non-violent efforts as extremism disappointed him. He described himself as a figure between two opposing forces; one that believed that change was possible and one that was too comfortable with oppression and was unwilling to act. However, he embraced the label extremist by arguing that he was a creative extremist who led activism for a positive change.

In his quest for equality for all, Luther King made sure that the black Americans would be recognized in political scenes. He organized a protest during the mayor’s election that greatly influenced the outcome of the election. As a result, the incumbent mayor who supported the oppression of people from one race lost the election. Martin Luther ensured that black people’s voices were heard even on political platforms by pushing for equal chances for black people to vie for elective posts. In essence, his efforts were fruitful since the country gave in to pressure and allowed for equal chances for all.


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