10 April 2019
How Dr. King defines just and unjust laws
In the world today, there are many laws that can be categorized to be either just or unjust. The conventional way of defining such a law is that just laws refer to the laws that are fair to every person while unjust laws refer to the set of laws that only favor a specific group of people. Dr. King is one of the most vocal people to ever fight for fairness on all levels. He went ahead to define the extent to which a law can be identified to be either just or unjust and even gave examples of the things that they faced during that time.
One of the examples that Dr. King gave as unjust laws is the fact that there was a lot of racial discrimination both in northern and southern parts of America. Apart from the segregation that existed between people of different races, it was also evident that some of the laws aimed at promoting segregation. Dr. King found it awkward that there were specific facilities that were not supposed to be used by black people yet they were also citizens in the same country as the others. He defined such laws as unjust and should not be allowed within the country. The highest point of segregation was when the Jim Crow laws were officially accepted to operate in the southern part of America. It implied that it was then legal to divide people based on their skin color and to give them preferences in terms of how they get access to facilities and services within the country.
Just and unjust laws have existed for many years. Even before Dr. King brought the attention of people to such happenings, it was evident in most parts of the world that there were laws that did not favor every person within the country.
Dr. King’s feelings on being labeled an extremist
At the time when Dr. King was about the segregation and the unjust laws that were being used in America, he was branded an extremist. It was very important that he act fast to clear his name of such claims so that he can go ahead with the struggle he had already started. He had to come out clear to give solutions to the problems that had been brought about by segregation. During this time, violence was on the rise and it was important that he comes out fast to clear his name.
He talked about the fact that there was no need to make use of violence as a way of retaliation. The whites has labeled him an extremist and wanted to put him on the spot for the violence that was on the rise. They believed that he led to the rise in violence by calling on the blacks to rise up against oppression. In his letter, he stated that though he believed that freedom must be demanded by the oppressed from the oppressor, there were better ways they could use to achieve it. He talked of nonviolent actions that would make them to be heard by the government.
He also said that at no point was it recorded that the black people were attacking the whites. In fact, it is the whites who were attacking the blacks under the KKK which was an organization formed to fight the blacks in the southern region. The fact that there was no violence from the black people clearly showed that his statements did not in any way promote violence as stated. He gave the option of making use of jails to arrest those who were found to be spreading the messages of violence just to show that he was not an extremist.
Dr. King ensured that he cleared his name of the remarks that were made by other people that he was an extremist. He used the platform to explain that he had no intention of using violence and even went ahead to state that they would make use of the jails.
How Dr. King makes use of allusion in his letter to Birmingham
In his letter to Birmingham, there are many cases of allusions that was used to relate the situation to that of other places in the world. Allusions help the reader to get the seriousness of the situation by relating it to another known case that had happened in the past.
The first case that is evident in the letter is when he alluded to the Biblical St. Paul who left his homeland to go and preach the word of God to other people. In this case, he tries to compare the good that he is doing to what St. Paul also did in the Bible. The use of St. Paul also shows that there were a lot of bad things going on at the moment and he was just preaching to change the society.
The second case of allusion is the use Hitler and the case of Germany during the world war. The fact that it was illegal to comfort a Jew in Germany during Hitler’s time is a relation to the status that was in America. He suggests that it is quite hard for black people to survive in the country because it is becoming illegal for them to live as a result of the rules. The allusion was meant to seek empathy.
The third case of allusion is when he brings Socrates philosophy into use. He suggest that it is sometimes important to cause tension in the minds of people so that they can rise and fight for their rights. This is a tool that he was using to make the black people reject oppression.
Allusion has been used more time in the letter and clearly indicates the extent to which Dr. King wanted the people to get the message. The letter was well written and had elements that could help seek for sympathy and empathy which was the main aim of Dr. King.
Bass, S. Jonathan (2014). "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Alabama Humanities Foundation. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
Rieder, Jonathan (2013). Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail. New York: Bloomsbury Press. ISBN 978-1-62040-058-6.
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