Letter From Birmingham Jail

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This article discusses the four steps of direct action as mentioned by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter of Birmingham. The King wrote the letter to justify his reasons for holding nonviolent demonstrations against segregation. The paper will present the determination of injustices, negotiation, self-purification and direct action as the four basic steps.

The first step was determining injustices or the collection of facts. The events that had taken place before the non-violent protest displayed pure racism and hate. These include bombing of homes and churches belonging to negros, a lot of segregation and unjust treatment in courts. He calls these “hard, brutal and unbelievable facts”(King, Martin p1).

The second was negotiation-the political leaders of the city refused to hold good-faith-negotiations with the Negro leaders concerning segregation and hatred, which eventually led to protest. They later had negotiation sessions with leaders of the economic community where promises were made to eliminate racial signs from stores. However, the promises were not kept; the signs were removed for a while but later returned.The third step is purification- this is simply preparing for action. Workshops are done to teach protestors on nonviolence. Here, they learn how to stay without retaliating when given a blow, they are prepared for jail and other events that may come up as a consequence of their protest.

The final step is direct action. This is the step they had been preparing for. They began demonstrations with the aim of damaging the economy. The main goal of this was to attract the attention of superiors so that they would accept to negotiate with the blacks and make the required changes. They would present themselves on the main shopping period of the year and exert pressure to press the merchants to do the needed changes. In conclusion, the main direct action steps proposed by Martin Luther in his Birmingham letter were collection of facts, negotiation, self-purification and direct action. They had already carried out the first three and were remaining the last step only.

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