The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a clip of great unrest. While the motion was felt across the South, Birmingham, Alabama was known for its unequal intervention of inkinesss and became the focal point of the Civil Rights Movement. Under the leading of Martin Luther King Jr. , president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, African-Americans in Birmingham, began day-to-day presentations and sit-ins to protest favoritism at tiffin counters and in public installations. These presentations were organized to pull attending to the unfairnesss in the metropolis. The presentations resulted in the apprehension of dissenters, including Martin Luther King. King was arrested in Birmingham after taking portion in a peaceable March to pull attending to the manner that African-Americans were being treated at that place, their deficiency of elector rights, and the utmost unfairness they faced in Alabama.
“ A Call of Unity ” , a missive written by a group of white reverends pressing the terminal to the presentations was published and a transcript was made available to King. This missive, published in the Birmingham Post Herald, made many claims including that the presentations were led by foreigners, they were unwise and prematurely, and urged the black community to retreat their support. It was during these presentations that the Birmingham Police Department, under the leading of Eugene “ Bull ” Connor, used forceful steps such as utilizing high-pressured H2O jets and constabularies Canis familiariss in hopes of halting the presentations. These reverends believed that Birmingham ‘s utmost steps were justified and they excessively urged the African American community to retreat their presentations. King responded to the eight reverends with his missive from the Birmingham gaol, although its mark audience could hold easy been the “ white centrists ” .
King instantly strives to warrant the demand for nonviolent direct action through his statement, “ Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to prosecute in a nonviolent direct action plan if such were deemed necessary. ” What is direct action? Direct action is a signifier of political activism which may include sit-ins, work stoppages, and presentations. King ‘s account to the reverends for protesting segregation began with an account of their actions, “ Nonviolent direct action seeks to make such a crisis and Foster such a tenseness that a community which has invariably refused to negociate is forced to face the issue ” . In this instance King was raising the right of freedom of look, non merely freedom of address but the freedom to piece. The clergy and many of the citizens of Birmingham believed the presentations, sit-ins, and work stoppages, considered peaceable by King and his protagonists, as a twit and misdemeanor of the segregation Torahs in topographic point in many of the southern provinces.
Within the first paragraphs of his missive King rebukes the many unfairnesss of his people in Birmingham. King responded with discouragement at the clergy ‘s mention to him being an foreigner. King stated that he had a ground for being in Birmingham and he was non an foreigner as the reverends claimed. He responded with a profound statement, “ Anyone who lives inside the United States can ne’er be considered an foreigner anyplace within its bounds. ” King explained that his intent for being in Birmingham was due to the unfairnesss within the metropolis. He continued by comparing himself to the 8th century Prophetss in that he excessively was transporting a message – the Gospel of freedom. King explicitly compared himself to the apostle Paul whose travels were extended in distributing the Gospel of Christ. Just as Paul left Tarsus to distribute the Gospel of Jesus Christ, King left Atlanta for Birmingham. He claimed that his occupation as a Christian curate was to assail unfairness wherever it appeared. King ‘s imprisonment could besides be compared to the imprisonment of Paul.
King answered the reverends ‘s allegations that interrupting the jurisprudence was non the manner to accomplish the consequences – “ Conversely, one has a moral duty to disobey unfair Torahs. I would hold with St. Augustine that, an unfair jurisprudence is no jurisprudence at all ” . King did non believe that they have broken the jurisprudence. Kings response to the reverends was that a jurisprudence that is non morally sound is non a jurisprudence. King ‘s statement supports the conservative theory of the Nature of Law in that jurisprudence existed before adult male. The cardinal rules of jurisprudence are to separate between that which is right and that which is incorrect. Therefore, Torahs are made to protect the people non degrade and penalize.
King defined merely and unfair jurisprudence as follows:
A merely jurisprudence is a adult male made codification that squares with the moral jurisprudence or the jurisprudence of God. An unfair jurisprudence is a codification that is out of harmoniousness with the moral jurisprudence. To set it in the footings of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unfair jurisprudence is a human jurisprudence that is non rooted in ageless jurisprudence and natural jurisprudence. Any jurisprudence that uplifts human personality is merely. Any jurisprudence that degrades human personality is unfair.
King wrote that a jurisprudence could be merely on the surface and unfair in its application. The illustration given was how he had been arrested on the charge of exhibiting without a license. He explained that there is nil incorrect in holding a jurisprudence which requires a license for a parade, but that it becomes unfair when it is used to keep segregation and to deny citizens their First Amendment privilege.
King connected the nonviolent civil noncompliance or unfair Torahs to the radical statements of Thomas Jefferson. King ‘s Hagiographas include, “ … jurisprudence and order exist for the intent of set uping justness, and when they fail in this intent they become the perilously structured dikes that block the flow of societal advancement. ” In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson argued that authoritiess exist to protect basic human rights, “ deducing their merely powers from the consent of the governed. ”
King addressed civil noncompliance, the active refusal to obey certain Torahs, demands and bids of a authorities or of an busying power without fall backing to physical force, through his illustration of the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the Torahs of Nebuchadnezzar, on the land that a higher moral jurisprudence was at interest. Other illustrations of civil noncompliance were incorporated into the missive. King wrote, “ civil noncompliance was demonstrated by the early Christians who were willing to confront king of beastss and the chopping blocks instead than subject to certain unfair Torahs of the Roman Empire. ” King understood wholly that his audience was non the reverends entirely. So, while appealing to the Christian and Biblical beliefs and rules of the clergy, he included non-Biblical illustrations of civil noncompliance every bit good – Socrates and the Boston Tea Party.
King responded to the reverends ‘s accusal that he was an extremist by countering with illustrations of extremists. King wrote, “ Was non Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that expletive you, make good to them that hatred you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. ‘ Amos was an extremist for justness, ‘Let justness roll down like Waterss and righteousness like an ever-flowing watercourse. ‘ ” He continued supplying illustrations of other extremists including the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, John Bunyan, and Thomas Jefferson.
King was concerned with the subjugation of the African American. He continued by authorship of the longing for freedom of the African American. He wrote, “ aˆ¦the United States Negro is traveling with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justness. ” Using the analogy of the promise land was non inadvertent. The promise land was the Israelites land of freedom from their captivity at the custodies of the Egyptians. A King quoted Abraham Lincoln, “ This state can non last half slave and half free, ” and Thomas Jefferson, “ We hold these truths to be self apparent, that all work forces are created equalaˆ¦ ”
Christianity played a major function in King ‘s response to the reverends. He shared his letdown with the church as a whole. King believed that he would happen support for the cause of justness within the community of the church. He wrote of the strength of the early Christians and of their rejoicing for being deemed worthy to endure for what they believed. He besides wrote of the failing of the modern-day church and the concerns he had about Christianity losing its significance. King was so overwrought over the actions of the church that he found himself inquiring, “ What sort of people worship here? ” “ Who is their God? ” And, while defeated, he responded with statements of love and hope.
As King concluded his missive he shared his belief that the battle for freedom would be won, non merely in Birmingham but across the state, because the black adult male ‘s fate was tied up with the fate of America and the end of America is freedom.
King ‘s missive from the Birmingham gaol inspired a national civil rights motion. The end was to wholly stop the system of segregation in every facet of public life ( shops, separate bathrooms and imbibing fountains, etc. ) and in occupation favoritism. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned favoritism based on “ race, colour, faith, or national beginning ” in employment patterns and public adjustments, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reinforced the warrants of full citizenship provided under the thirteenth, fourteenth, and 15th amendments. The transition of these two Acts of the Apostless marked the terminal of the Jim Crow system in the South. The integration of public installations was fleetly implemented. With the enforcement powers of the federal authorities enhanced, the integration of public schools was besides initiated.