Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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- The Speeches of Dr. King
- The Early Life of the Civil Rights Leader
- The Assignation of Dr. King
- The Writings of Dr. King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first African American to decry the injustice which his people faced in America, primarily in the South. He emerged at the right time as the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest and most eloquent spokesman, able to incorporate Christian morality with political philosophy. Dr. King not only knew what was wrong, he was able to point out to the rest of America exactly how it was wrong. His Letter From a Birmingham Jail, written in early 1963, was a response to other clergy’s criticism of his actions. In the short essay, Dr. King explores the nature of just and unjust laws, and man’s responsibility to them.
Dr King and the South
Dr. King has clearly defined the situation in the South as injustice. That the obviousness of living conditions for blacks at the time was ignored by so many prompted Dr. King’s eloquence. America is supposedly a nation built on laws and freedom. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” King wrote, implying that the situation in the South was a threat to the very foundations of America.
Dr King and Segregation
Therefore, in Dr. King’s estimation, segregation laws in the South are unjust. There can be no compromise on the issue. These laws denied basic human freedoms to African Americans, as well as depriving them of basic rights supposedly guaranteed under the laws of the United States. Dr. King completely advocated obeying the law, but unjust laws have no legality. “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’”.