Analysis Of Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail

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“In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion?” wrote Martin Luther King Jr. from his prison cell in Birmingham. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter while in prison after being arrested for peacefully protesting in the heavily segregated city of Birmingham. He wrote it after seeing a newspaper article where the church leaders condemned the protests. Martin Luther wrote his letter first in the margins of the newspaper, then scraps of paper from a friend, and then the final parts on a writing pad provided to him by his attorney. The final letter was compiled by friends outside of prison, and formed the famous Letter from a Birmingham…show more content…
One such example is when King says, “Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” This is powerful because of its use of metaphor, likening the tension caused by segregation to a boil that is hidden from sight and never cured. This strengthens his point that causing tension in the community is a necessary evil. He does this to combat the clergy’s opinion that his coming into their community and causing tension caused problems for both the white and colored communities. King hoped that creating this tension would force the leaders to take up the issue of segregation and other racial problems. When King writes “there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair,” he shows that eventually any community that is oppressed will try to break its chains, and that the black community has reached that stage, and will attempt to earn themselves rights by violence or by peaceful protest. A third example of King’s use of metaphor is, “They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” This sentence is used to show his appreciation for the church leaders that have stood up for civil rights, against what the majority of church leaders believed at the time. He also used it to help his transition to the next topic of the letter, his trust that eventually righteousness will
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