Martin Luther King

Paper on Martin Luther King

A necessary argument
In the 1960’s the American Negro was fighting against the white population’s resistance to integration. The practice of racist discrimination and segregation in the South had become institutionalized. Martin Luther King rose as a leader of the black communities as they started staging public demonstrations. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail", written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in response to a public statement made by eight Alabama clergymen. Among other arguments, he defended his rightful presence in Birmingham, justified the demonstrations as morally right against unjust laws, and refused their accusations of him being an extremist.
The Alabama clergymen’s statement, in reference to Martin Luther King, stated that the racial problems in Birmingham could properly be pursued in the courts. They also said that he had no business intervening in their matters as he was an outsider. They were convinced that the demonstrations were unwise and untimely as they promoted hatred and violence. I can understand that the clergymen, being white, and leaders of the Alabama community, were obligated by their status to promote law, order and common sense. This position put them in direct opposition to Martin Luther King, who they saw as the instigator the demonstrations that had taken place in Birmingham. They wanted him to leave and allow their own community to solve their problems. Even though they saw some merit to the Negroes arguments, they thought those matters should be left alone for the courts to decide.

Martin Luther King responded to the criticism of the outsider’s participation as he thought it was his business to be there. He said,
“I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, [...] Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent...