Martin Luther King and Civil Disobedience Analytical Essay by ResearchRiter

Martin Luther King and Civil Disobedience
A discussion of Martin Luther King's views and civil disobedience.
# 126790 | 2,250 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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The paper provides a discussion of Martin Luther King and civil disobedience based on King's views he expressed to the white local clergy in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" after they asked him to discontinue his protests in the city. The paper presents the thesis that Martin Luther King Jr. had to resist man-made law and established authorities like the state and church in order to follow a higher law and sense of justice that promoted human rights for all individuals. The paper includes an outline.

From the Paper:

"In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. took up the fight for civil rights in Birmingham. A powerful leader of the civil rights movement and of African Americans, King was arrested with other non-violent protestors. While there, King composed a letter to the clergy of Birmingham in response to their admonition that he abandon participation in protests in the city. On charges that he was an outsider, King revealed his purpose for being in the city, "I am here in Birmingham because injustice is here" (King 220). King believed injustice in one location represented a threat to justice in everywhere.
"The Birmingham Clergy viewed King, Jr. as being out of his jurisdiction, maintaining he was an outsider who stirred up trouble by inciting African Americans to protest against local authorities. King aligned himself with Biblical authority when he responded to this allegation by telling the clergy he was like the prophets of the eighth century B.C. who "left their villages and carried 'thus saith the Lord' far beyond the boundaries of their home towns" (King 220). In this sense, King maintained his actions were justified by Biblical precedence and challenged the clergy in their allegiance to local authorities who maintained racism and segregation."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Clayborne, Carson. "Paradoxes of King Historiography." OAH Magazine of History 19.1 (Jan. 2005): 7-10.
  • Gandhi, Mohandas K. "Satyagraha." The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings: Marx, Marat, Paine, Mao Tse-Tung, Gandhi and Others. Ed. B. Blaisdell. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail," 1963. 50 Essays. Ed. Samuel Cohen. New York: Macmillan, 1974, 220-237.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. Why We Can't Wait. New York: Signet, 2000.
  • Pearson, John. "Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience & Later Life." Journal of American History 3.4: 3-9.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Martin Luther King and Civil Disobedience (2008, December 01) Retrieved August 11, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Martin Luther King and Civil Disobedience" 01 December 2008. Web. 11 August. 2022. <>