On April 12, 1963, Martin Luther King was arrested because of participating in demonstrations of non-violent civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama. On the same day, eight Birmingham clergymen published a letter to Birmingham News, which indirectly called out King and blamed the civil rights protesters, which made him wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Prison”, and it is very significant historically as it explains the rationale behind the King’s peaceful protest movement. He wrote a letter from his prison cell in Birmingham, Alabama, and published it in the Atlantic under the heading ‘The Negro Is Your Brother.’ This was a response to eight ministers who publicly called on their communities to stop the demonstration because they were opposed to the segregation laws that were used to brutally oppress blacks in the southern states after the end of the civil war. war. King was the leader of these demonstrations, so the letter seemed to be addressed primarily to him, and it was he who was supposed to answer him. He had to answer this from prison because he was one of the 53 people who were arrested after an organized protest on April 12th on Good Friday. The protests at that time were not very successful, but led to numerous arrests and impending violence, as the KKK entered the police station.
The MLK “Letter from Birmingham Jail” justifies his actions now and emphasizes the need for more non-violent demonstrations, such as the one he just held, and no less. He argues that only through such actions can the white population be forced to agree on better conditions for the black man. He argues that it is not immoral to refuse to obey unfair laws and that disappointment in the black community is so widespread that something needs to be done now while peaceful means are still possible. Otherwise, this frustration will reach a boiling point and escalate into violence. He then criticizes church leaders for not realizing the needs of their community and helping him channel this energy more positively.
In his letter, King called for the use of codes of ethics: “Everyone is morally responsible for non-compliance with unfair laws. I would agree with St. Augustine is that an unjust law is not a law at all. King reacted to the oppression of his people, arguing that everything must be changed, and urged many white people to support his cause, using a reason to argue his case. At the same time, King is ashamed of church leaders for not understanding their responsibility to draw attention to immoral acts, such as segregation laws. While King was somewhat successful with this letter, as peaceful protests continued with more people, blacks still do not enjoy true equality. This is very clear in many cases of racial profiling, which has led to the fact that there are so many blacks in prison compared to whites. Profiling black citizens in the name of a “tough fight against crime” is ineffective, highly discriminatory, and ultimately does more harm than any other result. “Racial profiling in all its manifestations is an erroneous law enforcement tactic that is in direct conflict with constitutional values”. Racial profiling of blacks causes a higher level of imprisonment and is clearly unfair and non-American. Today’s church leaders were mostly silent about this and other issues of ethnic imbalance, so the letter of the MLK remains valid today when it first wrote it.