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In Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” masterfully discusses the social implications of injustice as it is expressed through segregation and why it must be addressed now. In this paper, this author will focus on the five main points that Dr. King addresses as he answers the criticism of the clergymen that he is writing to.
The first point that Dr. King makes is that we are all interconnected and “interrelated.” He urges his audience to consider that what happens to the American Negro has an effect on them even if they are not aware it. This point is summarized in his famous statement, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The second point that Dr. King’s letter makes is that when we address problems in society, we must address the underlying causes of those problems. He says in the letter that he is in Birmingham, Alabama because he has joined with others to address the injustice that exists in this city. He gives several examples of horrible, ongoing injustice that has been directed toward American Negroes, stating that Birmingham has the worst record of any city in America.
Next, Dr. King makes his most important point as he helps his audience understand why there is a need for nonviolent, direct action when you are fighting injustice. First, he gives several examples of white people in power not willing to negotiate and discuss the injustices against American Negroes . “Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily…We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” When this is the case, Dr King states that the oppressor is left with no other choice but to respond with either violence or nonviolence to bring about change. He is for nonviolent direct action so that violent action will not be the course. Dr. King states specifically in his letter, “Nonviolent direct action...