The Letter From Birmingham Jail By Annie Johansenking_arrest_jpg.jpgIn 1963, on Good Friday, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march in Birmingham to protest the segregation and discrimination that African Americans faced in the U.S. Everyone involved, fifty three blacks, including Martin Luther King Jr. were arrested. This protesting march made the clergymen of Birmingham upset and their anger made them write a letter directed at African Americans to stop all of their protests. The letter was then put in the Birmingham Newspaper which King read while in his jail cell. Keeping in mind that King was very strong willed and stood up for his opinions, he wrote a response to the clerygymen's letter that turned into the turning poing of the Civil Rights Movement, and became the Letter From Birmingham Jail. King wanted to diminish discrimination and segregation and wanted racial equality and through his "letter" King tried to show how much he wanted to eliminate violence within the whites and the blacks including bloodshed and hatred directed towards the blacks.

In the beginning of the letter, King protested the segregation that the clergymen took part in to create an impacting crisis and fuel the everlonging tension between whites and blacks. In addition to calling the clergymen out for only fueling the fire and not putting it out, King said that the clergymen did not confront the issue, but instead dealt with it by putting everyone involved in jail. King also mentioned how disappointed he was in the Church because they had not supported him in his actions towards racial equality and that they had not lived up to what God wanted them to be. In the Letter From Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. explained how the African Americans had everything they wanted to happen in the community very well planned out, and that he stood very strong behind all of the protests against the civil rights of blacks. King and his followers wanted to force all of the white politicians to negotiate becuase they had done nothing to further African American rights. The politicians had promised things that never happened and blacks were tired of the discrimination and King stated how he truly lived for racial equality. Throughout the letter King mentioned how violence was the last thing he wanted, he just wanted laws to change and court rulings to be upheld. Also, King answered the clergymen's statement, that breaking the law and creating protest wasn't the way to reach racial equality, by saying that he hasnt broken any laws because a law to him was something that is "morally sound." King expressed that a law was made to protect someone and not degrade and punish them.
After expressing true feelings, King said that the African Americans would not stop what they were doing until they obtained racial equality, and that if they couldn't do that peacefully, things would become more violent. African Americans could no longer hold in their anger and emotions and nothing was stopping them from expressing themselves. King explained that nationalists in the black community were coming more common and that he had faith that the African American people and church would influence the people, of whatever race, around them. In the end of the letter, King says that he hopes that the African American church owns up to its responsibilites to support the black people in their protests and to help them rise from everything bad that had happened in the past. The entire Letter From Birmingham Jail was originally written in the margins of the Birmingham Newspaper that held the letter from the Birmingham clergymen.


This letter was seen as the spark of the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that King had risked so much to have a letter written on an old newspaper be smuggled out of jail and into the public eye showed that he truly wanted change. The need to be heard showed the government that King wasn't going to stop his protests until he got what he wanted, racial equality. King could have been punished even more for smuggling an object out of jail but that was not an apparent cost to him. King had started to achieve his goal to spread the need to eliminate segregation and reach the stage of every man, no matter his skin color, being equal. Without King writing this letter in response to the clergymen, the Civil Rights Movement could have taken a lot longer to have affect. Without the letter, the public, and white people, did not know how dedicated King was to achieving his goals. The people were greatly impacted by this letter because it gave them a sense of hope that King would not give up, and also stimulated them to support African American Rights. Martin Luther King Jr. was a tremendously powerful man who, with one letter on an old newspaper, sparked the moving forward of the Civil Rights Movement.