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A Focused Presentation Essay, Research Paper

A focused Presentation

In the spring of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was taken to jail in the aftermath of the Birmingham confrontation with Public Safety Commissioner Bull Conner and Municipal authorities. Despite the beatings, hosings, and unleashing of vicious dogs Martin and his thousands of followers risked serious injury, even death in parades in the heart of downtown Birmingham, which eventually lead to their arrest. While Martin was in jail, he began composing his letter on the margins of newspapers, and was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly black trustee, and was finally concluded on a pad Martin s attorneys were eventually permitted to leave for him.

Martin had the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization with one in every southern state, having headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin was in Birmingham because that was where the injustice was. He was there heading up a nonviolent campaign, which he said had four basic steps: Collection of all the facts to determine whether injustice exists; Negotiation; Self-purification; and Direct action. Birmingham had gone through the first three and finally a direct action step had to badly be taken. The purpose of direct action is to dramatize an issue so much that it can no longer be ignored. This seeks to encourage negotiation.

Martin goes on to write that it is unfortunate that demonstrations are going on in Birmingham, but is even more unfortunate that the city s white community left the Negro residents with no further alternative. The reasons for non-violent protest in the Negro community were record numbers of brutality, grossly unjust treatment in the courts, record numbers of unsolved bombings of homes and churches, and harsh treatment in department stores. All negotiations with the cities fathers had failed. And in result of these actions they had no choice but to prepare for direct action, which were non-violent protest risking emotional and physical harm to their selves and their families.

Today s generation is much different from that of out parents and grandparents. There is simply no way to understand their struggle for equality and the pursuit of happiness. We can never, as a generation, comprehend the pain and suffering endured by our forefathers. Video, tapes, books, and the internet are all ways our generation seeks knowledge about these de-humanizing events, however, we still take for granted the right to be a productive citizen and come together with a common goal. Nigger, Colored, boy, John does not identify a group of people. These words are not considered acceptable terminology pertaining to any certain race. These words bring shame and humiliation and also remind of us the hatred that used to infest our nation.

Is this the way God intended the World to be? Heartache, pain, and bitter remorse were probably not the plan for the World. We can only hope that God forgives us and our ancestors for all the pain and suffering that we have put each other through. Can we ever apologize for this awful brutality? It is simple to say, I m Sorry , but what is an apology without substance? The pain and suffering that still goes on in America is overwhelming. Until we learn how to work together as a community Martin s dream will never come true.


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