“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Subject: History
Pages: 2
Words: 594
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School

Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail sought the church’s help in dealing with racism that plagued the colored communities in America. He claimed that black people needed freedom just like other eople. Dr. King was disappointed and claimed the church should have supported them in this endeavor rather than stating it was untimely to fight for an end to segregation (King, Jr., 1963). Dr. King stated that people of color were desperate for equality and acted to gain freedom as the issue was a stark contrast to the church’s solution. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was more troubled by white moderates than the KKK because the former ignored the severity of segregation (King, Jr., 1963). These individuals enjoyed freedoms not availed to the black population but did not perceive the importance of freedom rights. They opposed people of color using non-violent force to advocate for justice while supporting the government’s violent actions to subdue protesters. White moderates opted for a monologue instead of a dialogue, enjoying society’s privileges while asking others to wait for fundamental human rights to be offered by the government. Dr. King asserts that law and order should focus on the goodness of people to improve personalities rather than go against the law of God (King, Jr., 1963). Natural law does not consider segregation lawful and relegates it to unnatural law that gives oppressors a false sense of superiority and the oppressed consider themselves inferior. The moderates choose to follow an unnatural law that is sinful and immoral (King, Jr., 1963). Dr. King claims people should endeavor to follow moral law and emphasize justice and equity. Dr. King suggested that people should be ready to elicit civil disobedience in opposition to unjust laws. This involves following a higher law and refraining from acting per laws that exhibit negative traits. He compares segregation to early Christians choosing death over following Romans’ unjust laws, sublime civil disobedience (King, Jr., 1963). While a government may suppress the truth, it cannot hinder the reality of moral law. Dr. King questions the legal concept as Hitler’s actions were considered legal in Germany. This type of non-violent campaign can succeed because of the tenets involved. Freedom is innate and is not an item for a bargain. Oppressed people cannot remain in this situation forever and would seek to find alternatives to their problems. Therefore, Dr. King believed this campaign would work because it fought for justice rather than order.

Modern civil rights struggles posit similarities to those facing the black community during Dr. King’s time. Black people are discriminated against by the police and admonished for protesting against indiscriminate police killings leading to negative mental associations with inferiority (Johnson, 2020). White moderates peddle a narrative of impending violence if these protests continue while failing to acknowledge the injustice involved in killing people without repercussions. His letter’s points apply to modern civil rights struggles as communities are informed to wait for justice without action. Individuals face increased backlash from governments concerning certain detrimental activities for seeking dialogue to deal with them. For instance, black activists are jailed and labeled criminals for protesting against extrajudicial police killings, developing adverse mental health as they see violence perpetrated on their race (Johnson, 2020). These actions are reminiscent of brutality shown to black people during Dr. King’s time when writing the letter from a Birmingham jail. King would note the similarities in civil rights struggles between the two eras. Various governments suppress human rights while painting the oppressed as the aggressor. They propagate injustices while protecting a biased system with immoral undertones.


Johnson, G. (2020). Police killings and Black Mental Health. Penn Today.

King, Jr, M. L. (1963). Letter from Birmingham Jail.