LLCE Anglais L2
Contrôle Continu – DM de civilisation Américaine
Peace and unity are essential to any society for a better quality of life and coexistence among the people. Lack of order – especially when a particular group of people is segregated – brings a lot of fear and discontentment among the affected people. In its early years, America practiced segregation and discrimination towards people who were from different “races”, that is to say they were not white. Martin Luther King Jr., in his letter, tries to show how white people are discriminating innocent black people and killing them for no good reason. The “black communities” were mistreated just because of their skin color. Martin Luther King Jr., upon violation of an injunction against protesting, was taken to Birmingham jail where he sought freedom for black people by writing a letter expressing the need for the end of discrimination and segregation towards colored people. Therefore, I shall discuss the content of this letter written by Martin Luther King to show his main intention when writing it. First, I will discuss what his letter contains. Secondly, I will disclose King's intentions when writing the letter. Finally, I will expound on the importance of his letter for the black community.
According to the Bible, more than two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ died on the cross and resurrected to heaven, which meant that Christians were set free and had freedom since He paid for all their debts. This was not the case for black people in Birmingham in 1960s as they experienced a lot of discrimination and were segregated by white people. Martin Luther King went ahead to spread the gospel on the need for freedom for black people, and in his letter to his fellow clergymen, he was able to express the difficulties that black people went through. There was injustice in Birmingham, and black peoples' rights were not respected at all. The policemen were filled with hate for them and could even kill them. For example, a black man was once castrated and his mutilated body was left on a lonely road. Black people lived in a cage of poverty among the wealthy society as they could most likely experience unemployment and also be illiterate due to being segregated from learning institutions. Colored people were restricted from going to certain places such as public amusement park and parents experienced difficulties in explaining those restrictions to their children, so this made their children develop bitterness towards white people. Black people lived with inner fears and outer resentment and were not certain of what to expect next from their discriminators. This proved to them that there was no freedom and power for them at all as they were considered as inferior.
As dark as the road may seem to be, there will always be light at the end of it. Martin Luther King from the Southern Christian Leadership Council was part of the group of people who came out strongly and courageously to fight and demand rights and freedom for black people. As human beings, black people deserved to be treated right without being discriminated. King in his letter to his fellow clergymen stated that this injustice constituted a threat for everyone, and this motivated him to get out of his hometown to fight for colored people. He wrote his letter in prison to show the humiliation that black people were going through and to express his inner desire for freedom and the end of segregation in Birmingham towards black people.
Martin Luther King was tired of hearing the word "Wait" for so many years as this to him meant "Never." They had waited for their constitutional rights for so long but all in vain. King saw this as an opportunity to demand this freedom that had been waited for such a long period. There were unjust laws that made segregation legal and according to King, any law that demeans humanity is unjust and illegal. The Southern Christian Leadership Council's move towards the fight for the rights of colored people led by King gave a lot of hope to the “black community” as they would soon be out of the segregation and discrimination conditions that they had experienced until then.
King Martin Luther's letter was of great significance towards the attainment of freedom among colored people. He expressed the fact that unjust practices were considered legal while just practices were considered illegal. In his letter, he revealed how Adolf Hitler legalized everything he did in Germany and how the Hungarian freedom fighters were illegal. This showed that their protests against segregation and discrimination towards the black community were seen to be illegal and this resulted in him being jailed in Birmingham. King further condemned the policemen who claimed to maintain order by preserving the evil system of segregation as they participated in intimidating and killing black people with impunity.
In conclusion, The main message of this letter by Martin Luther King Jr. is that racial segregation and discrimination have negative impacts on people such as high poverty level, poor job opportunities, fear among the people and high level of illiteracy. According to him, people from all “races” have the capabilities of doing great things, wherever they may be from, and segregation is used as a way to show a so-called superiority and inferiority of some people. To King, life is sacred and should be destroyed on no account, and every human beings should be highly respected. Human rights should also be upheld and unlawful practices condemned in every way possible. Martin Luther King also thinks that people need to be patriotic enough to condemn unjust practices in society to ensure peaceful coexistence among people of different skin color.