Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. along with many of his followers were arrested in 1963 Birmingham Alabama for their participation in public demonstrations to end segregation. While serving his time in jail, Dr. King received a newspaper from a fellow inmate and wrote an entire letter to the Alabama clergymen only using the margin space of the newspaper.
Dr. King adopted a rather personal and patient tone in his letter, hoping to get across to the reading audience to help support his cause. In the start of his letter, King states how he had reason to be present in Birmingham due to his organization ties with the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, and also pointing out he was there for a nonviolent cause. King goes on to reference the Bible and religious acts that he can relate too, which is a smart and powerful move to connect with Christian America.
King brings up the violent attacks and bombings that have been made on many African American homes and churches, and how negotiating has failed time and time again with the continued injustice and broken promises. In the letter King hopes to get that across to the clergymen, make it known enough is enough.
Dr. King Jr. explains how people can only be suppressed for so long before it ends badly. He tries to get across to the clergymen that he wants peace for not only him and fellow African Americans, but for the clergymen and everyone else equally. Suppressing people may break that peace and lead to violence and anarchy. In King’s nonviolent attempt to help end segregation laws and ending up jailed for such acts, he fears it may rise up possible acts of violence with things only to get worse. Dr. King warns the clergymen of such possibilities in his letter.
King agrees that negotiation and peace is ideal and much needed in Birmingham, although the tone of his letter makes it clear that he doesn’t want anymore broken promises either. King explains further how it is to see your family, friends, and loved ones get hurt, killed, or jailed unjustly over the color of their skin. How segregation affects the souls and minds of their children, hoping that will touch on the clergymen’s conscience in hopes they will understand there can be no more wait.
In conclusion, King hopes that the clergymen will obey the 1954 decision by the Supreme Court to end segregation, to understand what is just and what is unjust, and to get through to the white moderate that there is a need to end racial prejudice.
Cited Sources: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html