The following sample essay on “Letter From Birmingham Jail”: is a rare response to criticism from fellow clergymen written by Martin Luther King.
It was dated on the fourth of eight days he spent in a Birmingham jail. The criticism pertained to King’s decision to lead a peaceful protest march on Good Friday, a Christian holiday, of 1963. They referred to his actions as “untimely and unwise.” The peaceful protest march only lasted a few blocks before landing King and his fellow protesters in jail.
Throughout the piece “Letter From Birmingham Jail” King responds to the clergymen’s criticism directly using a plethora of examples involving children, women, and relation to the Christian religion.
Although King makes multiple valid arguments throughout the piece, one of his most distinct rebuttals occurs in paragraphs twenty-seven through thirty-one. Throughout these paragraphs, King responds to the clergymen’s accusation of referring to him as an extremist. He makes it clear to his audience that his beliefs reside between two extremist ideals: One ideal built on a group of Negroes who had given up on the situation of segregation and adapted their lives to it and the other based on a group of Negroes built on bitterness and hatred approaching violence.
Martin Luther King uses morally grounded figures and texts in paragraphs twenty-seven through thirty-one to justify the accusation of being considered an extremist in his approach to end segregation.
Martin Luther King uses clear and precise textual evidence from historical characters that are considered to be extremist with use of figures such as John Bunyan, an English writer that wrote a book on the pilgrim’s progress.
King quoted Bunyan saying “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” One would consider Bunyan’s approach extreme from a quote like this. King uses it not only to illustrate his historical knowledge but as well to draw a parallel betwee…