Letter From A Birmingham Jail, Moral Ends

This month, I yield to my daughter, Raven. She participated in the Limestone County NAACP MLK Essay Competition. Enjoy an excerpt from her essay!!

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter titled “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In this letter, he said, “It is wrong to use corrupt means to attain moral ends….it is just as wrong…to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.” How does this quote relate to advancing the dream of freedom and justice in America? “It is wrong to use moral means to attain immoral ends….it is just as wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends…”

During the time of Martin Luther King, Jr. and still today, the fight for the dream of pure freedom and justice in America is the same. For example, the sit-ins and peaceful protests of the Civil Rights Movement to motivate leaders to desegregate cities, encourage equality, and brotherhood can easily be compared to the modern-day protests, social media outreach, and the refusal of people to conform to rid America of issues such as police brutality, the targeting of minorities, and outright racial bias. As mentioned before, Dr. King’s quote says it is both wrong to use moral means to attain immoral ends and to use immoral means to attain moral ends. One may be preferred over the other, but each situation has one key word: immoral. How can the dream of freedom and justice in America turn into a positive reality if the fundamental steps are based on immorality and corruption? The answer is simple. It cannot.

Through his powerful quotes and his influential actions, it is obvious that Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong advocate of advancing the dream of freedom and justice in America for everyone. Concerning the aspect of actions, Dr. King believed in peaceful, non-violent ways of demonstrating his displeasure with the issues he and racial minorities faced during his brief but truly phenomenal life. With this approach, he changed the mindsets of several people in leadership roles, continuously advancing the dream of freedom and justice. However, today, although some still utilize Dr. King’s methods, several others have disregarded how successful his approaches and techniques were. Dr. King mentioned 3 steps before the last step of direct action concerning non-violent campaigning: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, negotiation, and self-purification. If people were to follow through instead of disregarding all four steps and turning to things such as violent protests, an example of immoral means to attain moral ends, the American dream would progress much faster, causing the nation to thrive.
By: Raven Warner