10 on 1 Method and an Evolving Thesis

In his letter from Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King responds to the criticism of his fellow clergymen who have expressed their dissent at the demonstrations by Negroes in Birmingham. He begins his letter on the premise of rebutting the contentions of his detractors that his actions in leading his fellow black protesters was “unwise and untimely”. He sets out to address their concerns about his being an “outsider” and leading the demonstrations in Birmingham. The first argument Dr. King offers  to justify the demonstrations is the underlying racial persecution and blatant prejudice that the Negroes have faced  through the ages, which has left them with no alternative but to resort to violent means to achieve their ends of justice. He supports his argument by offering evidence of the persistent attempts of the Negro community to reach out to their white brethren. Dr. King rebuts the contention of the Alabama clergymen that the demonstrations were “unwise” in the light of the negotiations that were taking place with the white community. He offers evidence to show that all the so called peace initiatives offered by the economic community were no more then token assurances, producing broken promises that were never meant to be kept and thereby increasing the Negro’s burden of misery and despair.  Additionally, Dr. King also points to the fact that time and again, the Negro has subdued his needs and his quest for equality in order to accommodate his white brethren, with insignificant results to show for his sacrifices.
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