Martin Luther Jnr Letter from Birmingham jail


Title: Martin Luther Jnr Letter from Birmingham jail

Author: Martin Luther King Jnr.

Published by: Christian Century Magazine

Publication year: 1963



Rev Martin Luther King received a letter from some group of local clergymen who urged him in a letter mailed to him in his jail there in Birmingham that he stop the street protests against racial discrimination. Rev Martin Luther King reacts in what I have likened to apostle Paul’s wholehearted lengthened epistle to the churches.

Martin Luther King Jnr has risen up to that peak in his (would I say) Apostolic calling and activism in that, he was getting lots of letter from people opposing his activism move which was in a bid to stop racial segregation in America. In accordance with an invite from a Christian NGO which has charged itself with the sole responsibility of standing up for the human right of black Americans. King argues that he wouldn’t protest all by his intention alone but by the support of big names and notable American clergymen who sees the reason why the human right of minority Black Americans should be fought for and without violence. In Malcolm X’s autobiography, Malcolm measures King’s anti-segregation campaign as not fit to tackle the persisting oppressive rules simply because Martin Luther King Jnr was seemingly becoming too lenient with those he (Malcolm) tags the devil. On an account in his autobiography, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm did states the reasons why black Christians shouldn’t be believed. He feels they have adopted the white man’s religion and therefore had been brain- washed into being at the mercy of their rules which wasn’t so after examining crucially the role Martin Luther King played in the peaceful agitation for the right of Negroes in America.

Martin Luther King Jnr didn’t just want to take part in what has been registered in the heart of protesters globally as the best peaceful protest ever, but comes to tie with Apostle Paul’s call for aid, such that was given to the churches (Paragraph 2). Just like the activist plight of Anne Moody in Coming of age in Mississippi and Richard Wright’s in black boy, Martin Luther King Jnr also feels the urgency to respond to the emotional brutality of his ‘brothers’ in America and especially in Birmingham where obnoxious rules on blacks were hot should be immediate.boy, Martin Luther King Jnr also feels the urgency to respond to the emotional brutality of his ‘brothers’ in America and especially in Birmingham where obnoxious rules on blacks were hot should be immediate.

Rev Martin Luther King Jnr clearly expresses the objective of their peaceful agitation establishing what is globally accepted as elements of a peaceful agitation. We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved… Page 4, first line. Rev king Jnr and his several affiliates wouldn’t just dash into a peaceful protest without proper orientation and disorientation of some long standing ideologies of protest. A non-violent tension was the tool Rev King makes do with after his several preaching against violent tension. King’s protest was tagged untimely, but my question following after the order of King’s is; Should hands be folded while lives deteriorate without repair. But even at that, King later have what I think is the best response of all time after he tells the Clergymen in his letter: We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor: it must be demanded by the oppressed. This fact has been proven severally by notable activist and most especially authors of some predemocracy books. Richard Wright in his autobiography states how he had to protest with cold shrills when he was little and with this, mama just lets go of him while others pay dearly for their misdeed. What if he (Martin Luther King Jnr) kept shut?

Rev Martin Luther King writes with the pain of segregation seriously hurting him. He speaks here on [page 6] with an emotional feel to drive his point home. The other black clergymen or clergymen who wrote him might probably not be affected by the obnoxious law definitely, had they been affected they wouldn’t have tarried the day of their freedom. There is actually no better time to correct any ill situation. That time you noticed that unpleasant situation is just about the best. Regarding 1Pet 5:10 The actions of the Clergymen is quite notable, an act of disappointment to Martin Luther King Jnr and even to the body of Christ with whom King was peacefully agitating for.

Luther King Jnr agitation and  Elijah Muhammed or Malcolm X’s movement are two opposite thing. Theirs was never in any way supporting peaceful protest as  Malcolm X notes in his autobiography of how the nation of Islam trains Muslim brothers karate for defence. Malcolm X opposes the white segregation laws and even referring to the white man as the devil who defied the black man of his human right. Fighting the course of the black man’s human right now becomes the struggle of two entity where one seems to be unfair with its approach to the trending issue of prejudice.

From Martin Luther King Jnr’s approach, we have seen a perfect example of Christians being the light and the salt of the world as the scriptures quoted in the gospel of Mathew 5:12-16. How best will he be the light if he fails to shine it from his residence in Atlanta all to the south of Birmingham and beyond the states in America where racial prejudice was at its peak.

Martin Luther King Jnr’s letter here reads the mind of a patriot who won’t want his countrymen to fall apart even while his struggle was to ensure equality of right with more emphasis on the minority blacks who were the subject of prejudice. The story of great men is enshrined in the book they write. This is just a letter from one of America’s finest activist and clergyman who fought till he became lifeless with his famous ‘I have a dream’ captivating speech.


Black Boy by Richard Wright




Title:  Black Boy

Author: Richard Wright

Published by: Longman

Publication year: 1970


It would have been so good if Anne Moody waited for Richard before she got her book published two years before Richard published this title of his. Well, just a joke by the way. But then, I’ve only come to notice the close similarities between Richard’s Black Boy and Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi.

The Black Boy sets in the black populated city of Mississippi where killing and lynching of Black folks was just the order of the day. The beautiful thing about this autobiographical account of Richard Wright’s life is the fact that, it holds close similarities with Anne Moody’s ‘Coming of age in Mississippi’. It is so much of an American story with imagery mostly related to America, (partly Africa, where the theme of suffering might just be concerned) Americans and might be so hard for one outside the United States to come to its full understanding.

In treating this book, lots of comparisons will be done relating Black boy by Richard Wright with Coming of age in Mississippi by Anne Moody. The initial chapters of this book preface on a ground of horror, pain, future uncertainty and feelings of sufferings where a black boy was made to know hardship at a time when he could hardly differentiate from his right to his left. The turns and consistent emotional torture meted on the black folks wherein he lives alongside abuse by the white bosses sets in young Richard a sense of coercion (even on real-life events and his thought) showing superiority to whites only, while the blacks remain at their (whites) mercy. The seed of coercion planted in Richard by several racial prejudicial happenings in his environment also becomes part of Richard. I ever wonder in the course of this autobiographical account, how a young teenage boy can put up courage and attempt stabbing or threatening an adult with knives.

Oppression and hostility on the black minority seem to be the order of the day thereby leading little Richard to learn to curse before he could read. Just as Anne Moody also had her own account, one can quite agree that severe hardship alongside ill-treatment was predominantly constant amongst the black folks in the early American days so much that the whites were treated with much reverence, while words from the black folks were meticulously selected when addressing them and even their young ones. The effect of several cases of ill-treatment on blacks soon becomes part of Richard’s subconscious when he naively thought; P.19 the white folks have got the right to beat Black kids, thus thinking that the right black parents have is only the parental.

The way children or youngsters will go arguably is dependent on the availability of their parent to foster learning and several teachings per time. In Richard’s case where his mother who ineffectively plays the role of the father became ill, Richard just had to live his life following his special ‘design’. Of course, you all will agree, these designs were never pleasant at all.

Racial prejudice which seems to be the main theme of this book stood gallantly still as far as the book is concerned. It was so much that Richard’s mum was stretched out of the hospital in a pretence to be lifeless and then to an ambulance. Reason being that, there wasn’t any hospital facility for the coloured people. Availability of better jobs, social amenities was also racially controlled such that the blacks were restricted from getting certain jobs. It even got so bad that blacks were not allowed to go borrow books. And at this point, I had a picture of how crazy racial discrimination could be. In her own write-up, Anne Moody gives insights on her personal experiences as well. In a portion of the book, she recounts how Negro students nursed fear on realising that there were a lot of white kids in some colleges they were going.

Richard alongside Anne Moody delves into exploring an autobiography right from their formative years up till when they both became an adult, thus narrating from a time when the readers could be cleverly carried along. The duo authors were brought to limelight due to their prolonged curiosity to know why the black minorities were deprived in partaking of the American dream. These might have just been the reason why Richard starts reading about several authors he came across in some of his reading times, authors who also had some of their articles opposing the Jim Crow’s laws. Anne also advocates for the right of the black folks by joining the NAACP movement which later translates into the Woolworth’s sit-in demonstration (that which gave her much popularity).

Even though Richard Wright was more focused on voicing out his opinion (which he never did at the end of the book) on the Jim Crow’s obnoxious rules via his literary skills, but then Anne took to the streets and challenged the ‘challengeable’ and becoming an orator and a strong activist who became part of a strong movement (alongside the likes of Medgar, Martin Luther King Jnr. and others) for the proclamation of the black’s right. Richard can be seen as the more curious type compared with Anne. He wants to know more, ask more, read more and see more of happenings which were not to the merit of the black folks.

After a vivid look into their personality, one can successfully determine the temperament of both authors. Of course, they’ve both got an element of being choleric. They are both given to asking questions and wanting to correct the obnoxious laws which restrict black’s right and was never in favour of the Black-Americans. Richard most especially did this until he was told to mind his business if he really wants to live and be successful. (Same was said to Anne moody, then she took a break from Canton to New Orleans).

Richard Wright’s black Boy is an  autobiographical account that projects the dealings of the white majority with the black minority in a country where equal rights were withheld, thus leading to a divided society pioneered by intentional hate for the poor black folks. It is yet another good book that tells the difference between being courageous to the rise of our countrymen and that which opens the eyes of the entire public to our historical heritage.