King's Philosophy in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Analytical Essay by Shaad

King's Philosophy in "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
An analysis of the philosophy that underlies Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
# 146956 | 809 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | BD

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The paper examines Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and shows how the author is not inciting violence, even though he exhorts Black Americans to resist the laws of the land. The paper explains why he calls an unjust law "no law at all", and pays particular attention to the quote, "You don't need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step". The paper also explains in what ways King was inspired by Gandhi towards his non-violent activism, and how his teachings reflect Emersonian self-reliance.

From the Paper:

"In 1962 King was jailed for violent protest and disturbing the peace. At this time he was indeed a lonely figure. There were many accomplishments to lie ahead of him, and in only two years he was to receive the Nobel Prize for his activism. After this he garnered many followers and friends, lending encouragement and support. However, in 1962, as he sat in an Atlanta jail, all this seems very distant. This is when he wrote his famous "A Letter from Birmingham Jail''. It was primarily meant as a defense of his actions to the wider world, but a closer examination of the letter shows that the apologetic note is far outweighed by the tone of advocacy towards the cause."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Braybrooke, Marcus. Beacons of the Light: 100 Holy People Who Have Shaped the History of Humanity. O Books, 2009.
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The living thoughts of Emerson. Cassell, 1947.
  • King, Martin Luther. I Have a Dream/Letter from Birmingham Jail. Perfection Learning, 1990.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

King's Philosophy in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (2011, January 31) Retrieved March 01, 2024, from

MLA Format

"King's Philosophy in "Letter from Birmingham Jail"" 31 January 2011. Web. 01 March. 2024. <>