Letter from a Birmingham Jail

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail   (King, Jr.)”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has written a thought provoking piece of literature in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” which peels away the superficial layers and addressed the heart of the matter.   In his letter, Dr. King compellingly and clearly states why he chose to participate in the nonviolent campaign that resulted in his being placed in the jail.   His letter is addressed to his fellow clergymen, and in it King does not waver in stating his disappointment with the “white moderate” and with the church.
    In Dr. King’s “letter”, one recognizes several themes that were a part of American history for the period c. 1877 to c. 1963.   One is segregation which was being practiced despite the fact that the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawed segregation in the public schools.   A second theme is disenfranchising African Americans.   Devious means were being used to keep African Americans from exercising their right to vote.   A third theme that appears in the letter is the promise of democracy and freedom, which has drawn people to this country since its beginnings.   However, the African American was being told that he must “wait” a while longer for his freedom.
    Dr. King was bothered by the racial injustice and discrimination of American society in the 1960’s.   He surmised that Birmingham was probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.   Dr. King stated that segregation “distorts the soul and damages the personality.”   He also stated segregation “gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”   His examples of a father explaining to his six year old daughter why she couldn’t go to the public amusement park and the humiliation of being addressed as “nigger” and “boy” and “John” were heart-wrenching.
    Dr. King was also bothered by the idea that the African Americans were being told they must “wait” for equal rights.   He states, “This...