Even after slavery was abolished in the United States, discrimination against African Americans still took place in society. Laws were even created to separate and differentiate the lives and rights of the African American populace from that of the Caucasian populace. Society is always changing, so campaigns against racial segregation were certain to happen eventually.
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There were many powerful leaders during the movements against racial discrimination. They led the way to desegregation and equal rights with their actions, speeches, and writings. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of these major advocates against societal racism, and through his works, the United States made many advances toward equality.
One of his many campaigns was in the form of a letter that he wrote after being thrown in jail for protesting in Birmingham, Alabama. In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King uses different literary devices, such as biblical and historical allusions as well as figures of speech, to portray his message against racial segregation and bias in the United States to local white clergymen. Martin Luther King Jr. uses biblical allusions to compare the actions of the African American people to the actions of certain biblical figures. This helps him convey his message because he is speaking to religious leaders. He states that everyone will be an extremist, but he also states that there are two different types of extremism. He uses the three men crucified on Calvaryr’s hill as an example of the different types of extremism. Martin Luther King Jr. says that two of those men were extremists of hate and that Jesus was an extremist of love. He states that extremists are oppressed even if their extremism is out of love. He explains that the protests of the African American people are a form of loving extremism because their protests are for the betterment of the people and not meant to harm anyone. He conveys the message that Jesus was wrongfully persecuted for being an extremist of love, and that the African American population are also being extremists of love; therefore, being wrongfully persecuted (King 172).
Dr. King also states that there are just and unjust laws, and he uses the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to convey his point. Dr. King states that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego rebelled against Nebuchadnezzarr’s law on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake (King 168). He uses this as his way of protesting against the racially biased laws in America. Martin Luther King Jr. states that some laws need to be rebelled against in order to show how unjust they are. He says that certain people are willing to protest against unjust laws even if it results in incarceration or even death (King 168),
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