“Nonviolence can touch men where the law cannot reach them.” These words, as spoken by the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958) became the fundamental tenet of his life. The concept behind the words would define not just his work, but the history of an entire generation of American people in the middle of the 20th century. But his words would have proven hollow were it not for the actions that he took to support them.

If his words were the spike that pierced the heart of segregation, the nonviolent demonstrations that accompanied them were the hammer that was struck against that spike. They were a forceful combination that couldn;t be ignored or muted through the stubborn efforts of segregationists of the time. Dr. King;s words informed his actions, and vice-versa. Nowhere in his great history is that more evident than in the seemingly personal letter he wrote from a jail cell in Alabama; the ;Letter from Birmingham Jail;.

A key example of this in ;Letter from Birmingham Jail; is found in a section in which Dr. King says, ;I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.; (Paragraph 43). At this particular point of King;s letter, there are various underlying meanings and interpretations that may be gleaned, but they all strike the same chord. Whereas the old adage states that the ends justifies the means, nonviolence and particularly its use during the Civil Rights Movement, dictates that the means should justify the ends.

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The words, and the meanings within them, are held as an ideology; a mission statement for the entire Civil Rights Movement and the moral standard of the individual persons. To be more specific about what this means, Dr. King;s testament of nonviolence spoke to the cause and fight against legal and social injustice, provided a stark cont…

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Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-dr-kings-letter-from-birmingham-jail/

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay
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