Letter from Birmingham Jail and The Prisoners Who Wore Glasses

Last Updated: 14 Mar 2023
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Racial discrimination is a concept that has plagued society since the beginning of recorded history Despite its all-around horridness, social injustice and inequality can influence certain individuals to make a stand and promote change. Effective leaders will take it upon themselves to sacrifice their own well-being as well as the welfare of others for the greater good of society. This is represented in Letter From Birmingham Jail and The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest social rights activists in history, and he dedicated his live to sacrificing for the betterment of the African-American community. In order to justify his desire for racial justice and equality, Dr. King wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail that he’s been placed in for advocating for equal rights.

In his letter, King uses appeals to emotion, ethical appeals, and logical appeals in hopes to further invoke the need for drastic social change in the South. When addressing the clergymen concerning his right to be in Birmingham, Dr King uses a matter-of-factly, unemotional tone, “So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.” He does this to express his lack of concern with the clergyman who have claimed that he is an “outsider” who is causing trouble in Birmingham. Dr. King then continues to further argue this statement with his choice in vocabulary He uses words that carry strong emotional ties to them. “Hateefilled policemen”, “abyss of despair", and “disease of segregation" contain just some of the countless negative connotations that he has attached to the idea of segregation and everything surrounding it or contributing to its existence in society.

By doing so, King further distances himself from the racist idealist in the south who fully supported segregation, thus essentially putting his own life in danger. Dr. King asserts himself as the leader of the Alabama movement for Human Rights and leads by example. He describes the difference between what he considers just and unjust laws. “Ajust law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God, An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” He argues that black people don’t have the willingness to break laws, but rather have the right as members of American society to break laws that they deem as unjust Although this is the right idea, King had to realize that by encouraging African» Americans to ignore uunjust" laws, many would be arrested, or even killed in the process.

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This is a sacrifice that he deemed necessary for the sake of progress as a race, Additionally, King questions the logical thinking of the church as a whole and expresses his disappointment in their approach to dealing with the issue of social injustice “I have heard many ministers say: ‘Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern,’ And 1 have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely otherworldly religion which makes a strange, un»Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.” By questioning the laws of society and the validity of the ministers and priests in America, he angers many people throughout the South. In doing so, he sacrifices his freedom and life as he knew it, spending a large amount of time in jail. King eventually makes the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life for what he believes in. In The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses, Brille, the protagonist, is one of ten black political prisoners in South Africa part of a group called Span One.

One of the first and most significant sacrifices Brille chose to make was of his wife and children. “‘Let’s face it,‘ he thought ruefully. ‘l'm only learning right now what it means to be a politician All this while I've been running away from Martha and the kids. In the beginning of the story, Span One is assigned a new warder, known as Hannetjie, Hannetjie is different from the previous warders initially because he pays attention to the little things that Span One had initially been able to get away with such as smoking tobacco, eating cabbages, and communicating with one another, This initially worries Brille, but he’s certain that he‘ll find a way to lead his comrades out of this miserable situation. "Be good comrades, my children.

Cooperate, then life will run smoothly." By sacrificing the entirety of Span One’s freedom for a short period of time and cooperating with Hannetjie’s rules, Brille is able to catch Hannetjie stealing fertilizer. Hannetjie offers to bribe Brille to keep his mouth shut, and Brille uses this to his full advantage "Prison is an evil life,” Brille continued, apparently discussing some irrelevant matter, ”It makes a man contemplate all kinds of evil deeds." (Head, 9) In a way, Brille is surrendering his humanity by succumbing to evil deeds. Brille‘s “evil deeds” eventually lead to Span One and Hannetjie working together to be the best work detail in the entire camp. Both Span One, which was entirely black, and Hannetjie, who was white, sacrificed their individuality to better the lifestyle and production of the camp. Both stories adhere to the idea that leaders willing to sacrifice for the sake of progress can bring positive change to society as a whole.

The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses is comparable to the story of Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty years of his life in prison for his “controversial” political opinions. Dr. King and Mandela sacrificed seeing their loved ones and their own personal freedom in order to promote their political ideals and attempt to bring revolution to their respective environments The two stories are different in the way they approach this notion. In The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses, Brille advocated for group cooperation leading to peace, while King encouraged African»Americans as individuals to break laws that they deemed as unjust. Additionally, Dr, King and Brille subject themselves to loss of a portion of their humanity.

King knowingly advises African-Americans to ignore unjust laws knowing full well the consequences that could arise. Brille subjects himself to bribery, which he sees as an evil deed generated by the environment in which he resides. Despite the subtle differences in their approaches, the actions of Dr. King and Brille proved that social injustice can cause leaders to rise from the masses, and people will rally behind them if the ends justify the means. If the “ends” result in a much better life for society as a whole, the “means” of King and Brille certainly justify it.

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Letter from Birmingham Jail and The Prisoners Who Wore Glasses. (2023, Mar 14). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/letter-from-birmingham-jail-and-the-prisoners-who-wore-glasses/

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