Martin Luther King Jr. was in Birmingham to combat injustice against blacks. After a demonstration, King and other African-American civil rights activists and leaders were detained in the Birmingham city jail for “parading without a permit”. While in jail, King received a letter of criticism from his fellow religious leaders. King decided to address the criticism because he “feels that the criticism was sincerely set forth”.
In his letter, King was trying to convey the struggles faced by African-Americans during this time and the urgency for change. I believe that King did a fantastic job conveying this. In one section, he describes how segregation impacted the black society. At one point, King talks about his, at the time, six-year-old daughter and says, “… see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards white people…” This shows that segregation even affects younger children. If I was growing up as an African-American during this era, I wouldn’t have had the simple privileges, like going to the movie theater, and I could guarantee that I would have despised it.
What impacted me the most from this letter was the fact that everyone was affected by segregation. Until I read “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, I hadn’t realized that segregation affected children as much as it did. I knew that white and black children went to separate schools and such, but I never thought about the psychological impact it had on the children. I didn’t know that black children felt such a sense of inferiority against white children because of privileges that whites receiver because of their skin color.
I would recommend “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to someone else, but I would have to recommend it to a high school/ college age person or older. If a younger person read this letter, they may not understand the key points of the letter. I, personally, had a hard time with some of the vocabulary in the book, so someone younger than I would almost definitely have an issue. Also, a younger person doesn’t have the most realistic understanding of the world, so they wouldn’t take much away from this book. Overall, the book was great and made me think about how hard other people had it in this time era. I would definitely recommend that everyone read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” at one point of his or her life.