Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Letter from Birmingham Jail Assignments

Post your summaries and paraphrases here. The summaries are due before class on Monday, January 26. The paraphrases (10-12 AM class) are due now.

Begin your summary with: In Martin Luther King's essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," he writes...says...speaks... (use a present tense verb)

Timothy Grube
Eng 201B
Mrs. Sabir

Dr. Martin Luther King Summery

Rev. Dr. King, with affiliation with the S.C.L.C. wrote a response in a letter to his “Fellow Clergyman.” in regards of criticism from his fellow peers while he was in jail, for acts of protest. Dr. King stated that he seldom responds to letters of criticism; due to the fact that his secretaries would have so much work they could not do any constructive work. He feels that his peers are genuinely good, and their criticism is sincere, so he chose to reply to their letters.

Dr. King starts replying that he is proud to be the president of the S.C.L.C., who is affiliated with some eighty-five other organizations. He is inspired to bring justice of equality to Alabama. With inspiration from his biblical heroes, such as Jesus, and Paul; who helped fight for justice in their times. Martin Luther King's greatest goal was to bring justice to every one, everywhere. He stated “Anyone who lives inside th United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

He chose to use Birmingham as an example for equality because during the protest it has been considered to be the most segregated city in the country. He stated to the Clergymen that in a nonviolent campaign there are four steps to take even before they protest. They must collect their facts; negotiation; self purification, to make sure they are going into the protest with proper motives; and last but not least they take direct action.

He was criticized by them that direct action was too extreme and he should have negotiated instead. In reply he said that the S.C.L.C. was tired of being ignored from their negotiation and felt that direct nonviolent action had to be the next step, realizing they have been “victims of broken promise.” They criticized the S.C.L.C. of protesting in a bad time, rite after the new election. In reply by Dr. King he never new of a protest that was well timed, and he felt that the demonstration, was well needed for a long time. He acknowledges to the Clergymen that they stress about him breaking the law; about that his organization should not break the law. He felt, that it is quite paradoxic to follow a law that is unfair to everyone anyways.

Stating oppressed people can not be oppressed for ever, sooner or later they will stand up for equality, In the best way of doing so, by nonviolent protesting. He is grateful that some of his white brothers have grasped the meaning of this social revolution. Stating they are still too few in quantity, but they are great in quality. Feeling that his time in jail is a small price to pay for his actions set forth to make this social movement. He has been in great disappointment that so many churches feel that this is a social concern and not a church concern, but is glad for the few churches that understand the oppression and disappointment that they feel everyday. In hope that the letter in response finds them in good faith, and that they understand why Dr. King and the S.C.L.C. have done what they have, and wishes for his peers supports.
Mr. Timothy Grube
Stefan Gibson
Eng 201B

Dr.Martin Luther King Summary

In Martin Luther King’s essay, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” he speaks of nonviolent protest preparation, white supremacy, and shows how some of our most influential leaders are extremist.

Preparing for nonviolent protest is an important part of getting ones point across. Being able to negotiate tactfully and intelligently is one way to prepare for nonviolent protest. Revenge cannot be an issue in nonviolent protest because violence is at risk of erupting and focus lost. Direct action is yet another preparation of nonviolent protest because it takes into consideration when and where the events will take place.

Martin Luther King’s essay speaks of white supremacy. By wanting him to wait to protest, whites trying to make him think he is moving too fast, they believed they knew what was best. Whites were also using unjust laws; such as making blacks ride in the back of the bus and whites ride in the front. There were also signs reading “white” and “colored”. Separate neighborhoods and schools were a sign of white supremacy also.

While whites were saying Martin’s actions were extreme, hinting that extreme actions were negative, he spoke of how some of our most influential leaders were extreme. Jesus was an extremist of love saying, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use and persecute you”. Other extremists included Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther.

In the 1960’s and even now I believe racial injustice and white supremacy are one in the same. The words have been changed to entitlement, ruling class, and others. As long as racial injustice exists there will always be a need for awareness, preparation, and nonviolent protest. Given the opportunity to read Martin Luther King’ essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” has shown me how remarkably intelligent, discipline, and resilient Martin Luther King was and is.
Christine So
Eng 201B

In Martin Luther King's essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," he writes a letter in response to the clergymen for their criticism. Martin Luther King was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He sat in jail because he was invited for the nonviolent direct action program. He’s in Birmingham because injustice is there.
He speaks of the dead such as Jesus Christ and Paul for guidance. He had a chance to talk to the leaders of the Birmingham’s economic community about the embarrassing signs that were put up like “colored only” or “whites only” but it didn’t come through. Some signs came down but most of them stayed, some were even put back. It was very disappointing to him. He then came up with an idea that they should do a march but it kept getting postponed one after the other.
The reason for the direct action program is to come up with a plan and succeed. He has been dodged many times and feels like he’ll never make a change that this world needs. He asked the clergymen if they have ever been neglected and abused in such horrible ways. Being denied at motels because they were colored. Being called “nigger boy”, then they would understand how hard it is for them to be avoided. “I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience” he says. The word “wait” has been said too much to him that he feels like it means “never”.
There were some whites that were on the colored side and had suffered what they have suffered. They’ve sat in jail, verbally abused. They were even called “dirty nigger-lovers”. He thought that the white church would be on his side, the white ministers, priests and rabbis but instead they were against them. He went to Birmingham to have justice with the whites. Some have gone through hell with him, like going to jail, because of that they were kicked out of their churches and lost all respect from the bishops and fellow ministers.He writes a very long letter but can you blame him? He’s sitting in a jail cell with nothing but thoughts on his mind.
Allison Griffin
201A 10-12 M&W

In Martin Luther Kings Essay, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he writes about why he did what he did, explains his reasons behind what he did and expresses his beliefs to why it is extremely important to support these beliefs and make the community of Birmingham a free and just community. Being president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and being affiliated with Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, he felt the need to go to Birmingham. He went to Birmingham with a plan to demonstrate a non violent protest to desegregated public places, after realizing previous negotiation promises were not going to be kept. He felt as if there was not a perfect timing to taking action, it just needed to be done. In his letter he expresses that though his protest might reveal tension, the tension has always been there but now that its revealed it is an issue that people have to confront. The lack of compassion and unwillingness to address the issue will lead to non-violent demonstrators to handle things in different matters. He also writes about the lack of support from the churches in Birmingham. He had hoped that people of the churches would see just how unjust the ways of the community were. He also hopes that they would show concern towards the issue and could all rise and become more powerful, his hopes only lead him to disappointment. Realizing that the values of being just were not a concern to many of the churches he wrote, “The judgment of god was upon the churches like never before.” He also feared that the churches would lose there authenticity. He expresses his beliefs about how people must stop conformity and fight for freedom like many other in this country have done in the past. He closes his letter by acknowledging who the true heroes are in the situation. The heroes are the ones who support and stand up for the American Dream and bring the nation back to a democracy.
Shaela Saunders
Summary of Birmingham Letter

In Martin Luther Kings essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", he speaks about responding to a letter from the Alabama clergymen. In this letter he states that he doesn't answer letters of critism. He particularly responded to this letter because it came from some men who seemed pretty educated. He wanted to state his reason of why their needed to be a civil rights campaign. Just as Paul spread the word of God to the people, he wanted to spread the word of freedom to the people. King believed that the african-americans had no voice and no identity or self-worth, and it had been like that for too long. King also felt that the church did not live up to there responsibilities as people of God.

As King says, " unjust law is no law at all." King, I believe was trying to say that the law is unfair, corruptible and immoral. Kings hopes were for african-americans to keep striving and reaching for their own identity and to keep hope alive by being a activist and role-model. king did not want the african-american people to result to violence and anger, but if nothing was to be done about equality and fairness, that was exactly what was going to happen.
"The negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march." This quote from "Letters From a Birmingham Jail", states exactly what would happen when people are ignored, treated poorly, and have built-up anger inside them. African-Americans felt the need to be heard and respected just like everyone else. They didn't see progress and so they felt the need to be loud, agressive, and to fight to make everyone see their need for equality.
Going back to the church, Dr. King felt that the church did not pull through like they were supposed to. Dr. King felt very disappointed that the church did not live up to what they said they believed in. King wished that the church were more strong and loyal to what they supposedly stood for, and at the end he was very disappointed.
Eric Ton
Eng 201A
Mrs. Sabir

Response to “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

In Martin Luther King’s essay, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” Dr. King spoke of a non-violent protest and shows the white supremacy that they are not afraid to use violent if they have to. I found in deeply respectful when I read the letter that Dr. King wrote, in some point I felt the experience and segregation that he went through. I have a deep understand of how black folks were mistreated hatred. Even till now how racism still plays a major role in society.

He speaks justice and by using the greater image, he brought up the Death of Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul as his guidance and role model. While he was the leader and trying to lead his community to a greater place and trying to protect his people he willing to come a negotiate but promises were broken and hope were shatter and He said, he will not going to sit there and take the blow but instead he will fight it. He spoke to the white supremacy by saying that if negotiation is not come to any close, he will use violent if it is necessary. He told them that his human rights groups like a gadflies, which will not go away even though they are being pushed around. His society will not wait around and see no action.

Dr. King's wisdom and a power communicator is a well-known and well-cherished part of American history. After reading his letter, I admir his methods and his ideas of a leadership. He exposes the hypocrisy of the South and expresses his willingness to break an unjust law to pave the way for a just one and one for all. In case peacefully going to jail for his protests isn't a loud enough demonstration, his letter, specifically addressed to eight fellow clergymen but meant for the entirely community.
Class summary:

Define direct action-1/21
In order to have direct action we need to create some non-violent tension in the community to start a new way of negotiation. Take direct action since odder attempt have failed, we believe if we persist it will change. Though it is not supported tension to create change is necessary to free all humans of racial barriers. So that everyone has a chance and is not desegregated in/from any basic human right.
Charon Davis Brown,Rodney Moten, M.Peirano.
English 201 A
Soad Suarez, Keisha, Treana,Erick
Eng 201B

class assignment (Paraphrase)

I know you can ask yourself; why direct action? Why not negotiation? If negotiation is a better thing to do, why not do it? But this is the real purpose of direct action. And the purpose of nonviolence direct action is to seek and create a tension that a community which has constantly refused negotiation with the people of Birmingham can, for the first time listen to the oppressed. We have waited enough and these issues can’t wait no more. Direct action’s purpose is to create a way to open doors to negotiation. And such as Socrates created a tension into the minds of individuals so they could see the reality of myths and half truths, we must do the same, so people could open their eyes and eradicate racism and come to an understanding of love and brotherhood. Therefore I agree with you in negotiation, for my southland has begin down so many times, for they are used to live in monologue instead of dialogue.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail

On the 16th of April in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an letter from the Birmingham city jail to his fellow clergymen. He was confined in jail after being arrested for being a part of a nonviolent protest. Martin Luther King Jr. is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. S.C.L.C was asked by the affiliate in Birmingham to engage in a nonviolent direct action program. Martin Luther King Jr. and several members from Atlanta came to Birmingham because there is injustice here.

In September of 1963, there was an opportunity for negotiations on certain issues. For example, removing humiliating racial signs but it only lead to broken promises and disappointments. There was no other alternatives Therefore, Martin Luther King Jr. along with many others demonstrated a nonviolent protest. King was greatly disappointed when they were not supported by churches. The ministers declared: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” White ministers and white churchmen stand aside like this issue was irrelevant.

Martin Luther King Jr. mentioned “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.” I believe that this statement is true. When one is oppressed, one day they will stand up and fight back with courage and pride. One might say, “Freedom isn’t just handed to you, you must fight for it.” I believe that nothing is ever just handed to you in this world.

Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered in African American history. He brought freedom and justice to his community. If it wasn’t for King, I can’t imagine how the world would be like today. He was a hero and a idol to many people out there. Although there are still racial issues today, we will continue improving ourselves for the better.

Jacky Leung
English 201B, MW 1-2:50
Timothy Grube Nigel Webster Byron Nunnally
Eng 201A MW 10-12
Class Assignment(Paraphrase)

You may ask; why the direct action? Why the sit-ins and marches? Why not call for negotiation? My answer is simply that this is the very purpose of direct action. Which is to use nonviolent direct action to cause a sort of crisis to nurture and cultivate a tension in Burmingham to call for negotiation. Just as Socrates caused tension in the minds of individuals to release them from the chains of myths and stories to the unchanged thoughts of creative analysis we will cause an uproar that will bring fellow man to cast away prejudice and racism and to begin a new era of understanding and brotherhood. To long has our Southland been living on the words of one than the words of the community.
In Martin Luther King's essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," he wrote letter to his other fellow clergymen about criticisms of his work and ideas, while he was sitting in jail. There were lots of criticisms that people have wrote, and he tried his best to answer every one of them. Martin Luther King was the president of Southern Christian Leadership across the south. The affiliate in Birmingham asked him to be involved in a nonviolent direct action program, so that’s why he was in Birmingham.

The white people in Birmingham have the power of structure that had left the Negro community with no alternative. There were many bombings in the Negro community than the other places. The Birmingham’s leader had come to negotiate about taking off the racial humiliating signs that are posted on the stores, but as weeks went by, not a lot of signs were taken off.

Asia and Africa are moving fast toward the political independence, while the Negro in Birmingham still waiting for action to happen. With this kind of segregation, there are two type of laws that can figure out which one are they using against the Negro community, just or unjust since this kind of segregation is happening, it consider as unjust. Throughout Alabama, Negro community is the law of unjust, not being let to register to vote. Martin Luther King has mention that just is pretended and unjust is like a contract. Martin Luther King had been arrested because of parading without a permit.

When reading this letter, I had learned that Birmingham is the most segregated city in the United States. Taking action for the Negro community had taken so long because of many delaying.

Kelley Yuen
English 201A MW 1-250 SPR09
Sabah said
English 201B
Mon/Wed 10-12

Summarize Martin Luther King letter

Martin Luther King is responding to his fellow clergymen letter. He’s telling him where he is and what caused him to be in jail. He wanted the clergymen to understand why he done what he did. Martin L. King is in Birmingham city jail; because black wanted their freedom including him being the leader. Martin L. King was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The city’s white power structure left the Black community with no alternative. So Martin L. King and the rest of the Blacks that were being discriminated decided to have a nonviolent campaign they decide to go through the four steps that involves injustices still existing, negotiation; self purification; and direct action. In Birmingham there were still bombing African American homes and churches. They went through all of the first three steps, and that was the only thing left to do as direct action. So since their direct action non violent they decided to come as a group and have sit ins, marches etc, so they wouldn’t be ignored anymore. They caused tension and also they weren’t giving up. The purpose of Direct action program is for them to create a situation that leads negotiating. They waited to long, and they didn’t want to go through torture anymore. They caused tension, and also weren’t giving up. The purpose of Direct action program is for them to create a situation that leads to negotiating. They waited to long and waited for then 340 years for their independence and rights from kids, to mother and fathers being abused, also from not being allowed to go to public places because of who they are etc. Martin Luther King described the law being unjust. For example, him being arrested on a charge for parading with out a permit. The white moderate disagreed with Martin L. King direct action. He tired to get his point across to let the white moderate see what they need and to explain to him how they have been treated. Martin L. King was angry at the white church because he thought since he was in the bus protest in Montgomery Alabama ; that they were going to help out. But they also went against them about their freedom. The reason why he came to Birmingham hoping that the white religious leadership of the community would see the situation and help them gain their freedom. Then again they let him down. No one stepped up to help them or be on their side and understand them no matter who he went to. He cried in tears of how much disappointment he has. Still at this point they still went on with direct action to get across. So the whites would know that their not going to stop even if they were abused more then before, that still wouldn’t stop them. Martin L. King wants the day to come when all this is over, where they have the freedom. He wants the clergyman to understand where he’s coming from and what’s being said is true. There hoping that the discrimination and racial prejudice will soon be over and never again want that to happen. Martin Luther King reaches out for Peace, freedom and nothing else.
Soad Suarez
Eng 201B

Dr.Martin Luther King Summery

Martin Luther King Jr writes to his fellow Christian brothers, called clergymen meaning that they are men from God. He writes to them in response of a letter that the clergymen had written to him criticizing his action. Martin Luther King is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which they have movements that fight for human rights and justice. Dr. King tells them that they (people from the organization) were invited to Birmingham because of the organization, but most of all he is there because injustice is there. Injustice anywhere makes people want to fight for justice. He also tells them that the reason they (the people) are taking action is because they have no alternative no more. They have tried to talk to the white community and negotiate but it seems nothing happens; therefore they have no other way but to take action. So they felt that it was necessary take direct action without violence. Mr.King at one point gets surprise, but more than that he was disappointed at the clergymen, for criticizing his action that although peaceful they called it “unwise and untimely.” Dr. King tries to explain to explain why is it that they are taking direct action is. He is trying to explain to them that what they are doing is unjust and goes against the believes and customs of a good Christian. Also he stated that because they do not have freedom they have to fight for their freedom. And they will not give up until a change is done. They are tired of false and broken promises. King explains how he has to deal with two types of people: mad people and people who has given up in fighting for their rights. He also tells them that they are tired of having the word wait, because wait means never. King tells them that it is easy for someone to say wait when they haven’t live what black people has lived. He also explains that it is ok to brake an unjust law, for there are two types of laws unjust law and a just law. He also gives various examples of unjust laws that people had to force like Hitler laws. Towards King’s conclusion he gave props for those white man that had help Negros with the organization and also apologize to the clergymen if he had said something that was not true or that offended them.
Miriam P.
English 201B
Dr.Martin Luther King Summary


On the response letter that Martin Luther King writes from Birmingham Jail in Alabama to a clergyman, he talks about racial segregation and the most basic human right : “We are all equal to the eyes of God.

On first part of the letter he says that there is not place for the black community to live/grow on the city of Birmingham. Due to the unmanly acts of segregation, violence and brutality, the Negro community feels that they can not longer wait for take action. As Dr.King states, and I quote” We have been waiting for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights”; the time to act is now,, and any other better moment is an illusion.

He also explains that a law should be fair to the majority of the society without dismissing the right of the minority. As citizens we should all be able to act and to take the punishment on a law the its unjust ,so we can raise the inner voice of society; in other words, to seek a moral purpose.

The most confrontational problem he says that it is the normal citizen which is more comfortable living with a negative peace instead of allowing some tension so justice can emerge; and the Negro community which part of them are adjusted to segregation in order to survive, and the rest is facing this time with bitterness and violence, (as a huge example of that he cites the Elijah Muhammad’d Musilm movement), are the biggest problems of them all.

He thanks to the white men whom understood this cause and the immediate pressure to take action to end racial situation on this pressure time of change. The Church with his silence or opposition to the cause has left him disappointed. He thinks that the fall was on that they don’t see the human as a whole, but as a two separated entities: body and soul, the church must return to his higher purpose if not will lose credibility and status.

At the end of this long letter he hopes that in a short future all men could meet freely, as he uses the example of himself, a Christian brother meeting with a clergymen.
Henok weledehanna
Eng 201A
Mrs. Sabir

Dr.Martin Luther King Summary

In Martin Luther King's essay,"letter from the Birmingham Jial," he writes the reason why he is in jail.As he said the reason is because of "unjust rules".Due to that he says "Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere".He describes the four Non-violent compaines.Those are 1.collection of the fact to determine whether injustice exists 2.negotiation 3.self purification and action.he stresses that they been waiting for 340 years for their GOD given constitutional rights.Laws is also divided in to two, as he says they are 1.just and 2.unjust,so Law is just on its face and unjust is its application.Finally,he gives a messege which says Time is always ripe to do things.
Ashenafi Berhea

Dr. Martin Luther King Summary

Martin Luther King says that he gives the answer for his activity is "unwise & untimely". The demonstration is taking place because of the white power left Negro community with no alternative.Specially,he says Birmingham was the most segregated city in the United States .Freedom is never given by the oppresor but,It must be demanded by the oppressed.As he conclude his essay ,Negro is moving with a sense of great urgent towards the promised land of racial justice ;that is why the demonstration are taking place.Some white brothers wrote him a letter that says all christian know that the colored people will recieve equal rights eventually,but it is possible that you are into great a religeous hurry.
Adries Ahmed
Eng 201A
In Martin Luther King’s essay Letter from a Birmingham jail he responds to Clergymens criticism of the actions he’s taken. He begins his letter explaining and defining who he is and why he is not a stranger and should not be considered as an outsider. He also states that Birmingham is known for one of the brutalist city’s in the nation. Martin Luther king and Christian leaders decided to go to their to stop the segregation , and negotiate with the fathers of the city , but little changes happened. Only some people cooperated. He compares himself to Apostle Paul to justify his actions. He talks about the unfortunates caused by the white power over the Negro communities. He also says that our destinies are “tied in a single garment” which is very powerful. He writes about the non-violent campaigns which were postponed for a latter time, and clarifies that there is no convienient time but the present time. The organization of martin luther king had four basic steps , and they were collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation; self purification; and direct action but the one that really affected the city and resulted in negotiation was to avoid purchasing from merchants. He explains why it’s complicated to say what is a just and unjust law.
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