Posted by Cora on .
This assignment is in my English class but its about MLK so I thought I'd put History and English. So this is REALLY long! I typed it all myself and all I need is someone to check my facts and to edit. I know it's long, so if you only want to read a paragraph that's fine! I need all the help I can get! Thanks for the help. I know it's a lot.
Letters were sent to the King and articles were sent to the newspapers, all of them said the same thing. They wanted the demonstrations and marches to stop. Complaints were made to Martin Luther King, that now was not the time for this rebellion. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the letter from Birmingham Jail in response to these protests. His purpose was to inform the people of why he was doing what he was doing.
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Here Martin Luther King Jr. speaks of the painful times that he and his fellow African American’s have lived through. Saying, that they are being oppressed and no longer can they sit back and hope to get their freedom. They must demand their freedom, and gain it through their own means. They knew that the oppressors were not going to just give their freedom to them. They knew they had to take it, demand it, and not give up till they had it.
“For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." Martin Luther King Jr. states here that he knows he can no longer delay the rebellion. So long have they waited for their freedom, and yet they still do not have it. Many were telling him to wait, to give it more time and to call off his advancements. He knows that he cannot wait any longer. Now is the time for the demonstrations and marches to go full throttle.
Argument and Counter-Argument
“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement... fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations." This is Martin Luther’s first argument and with it he lays a foundation for his counterargument. Here he point out the lack of care for the Negro population by saying they only want the demonstrations to stop, but they do not care why they were started in the first place. He then proceeds to say, "...it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative." By stating this he points out that the African American population didn’t have any other option but to demonstrate and march. They were left with no alternative and had they been given one they would’ve taken it. However, they did not have one so they were forced to do what they could.
"You may well ask: 'Why direct action? ... isn't negotiation a better path?' You are quite right in calling, for negotiation." Here he bring to light that direct action is a form of negotiation. Direct action is non-violent and by using this method no one is harmed. For years the white men lived with the oppression of the Negros and now direct action must take place. He later states, “Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue." This statement shows the sheer necessity for negotiation. He appeals to the emotion of the people. That his people no longer can be silenced to their thoughts and that they are now voicing their dialogue.
He then addressed a clergyman, "You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws." Martin Luther King Jr. then begins to speak in terms of unjust laws. Laws that are put in place and are to be followed yet are so unjust that men and woman cannot be expected to follow them. These laws are wrong and immoral but they are still expected to be heard. Here he addresses the fact that if the laws were not unjust then there would be no reason for them to be broken in the first place.
Diction and Tone
The overall tone of the letter is forceful and demanding. No longer is Martin Luther King going to sit in the shadows. No longer will he allow his people to be mistreated. He knows that it was time for them to begin the demonstrations. Now was the time for the marches to go on full force. He couldn’t have made that more clear.
The tone was also very melancholy. In this letter he informed people of the turmoil and torture happening in everyday life. He spoke of the sadness he felt when he had to tell his daughter she couldn’t go to the amusement part because of her skin color. He appealed to the families when he talked about his brothers and sisters being beaten and gunned down by policemen. The tone in these chapters was very sad, very gloomy, and very down to Earth.
Lastly, I believe the tone was blunt. In this letter Martin Luther did not hold back. He spoke of all the horrors life brought for the Negros. He wanted the unknowing whites to be sympathetic. He wanted to appeal to the white people who did not agree with the unjust laws. The King wants to connect to his audience by making them put themselves in the shoes of the Negros. In that way he hopes that they will understand what their actions can do. Therefore, the tone of these sections was very blunt and honest.
The King implored to his fellow Negro brother and sisters to only answer the violence with peace. These were his concessions. He knew that if the African American’s were to have any hope on winning this war they had to be peaceful in their demonstrations. The white attacked peaceful marches, and bombed churches and homes of the Negros. This gave the Negros more footing and showed more people what turmoil they were going through.