The Differential Tone in ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ Martin Luther King Jr. was an icon who goes down the history lane as an impeccable leader. He is famous for excellent speech delivery, but the tone of his writing speeches has been subject to controversy. The arguments are diverse with some stating his work is subdued while others stuck on differential tone. One of his works that drew applause and criticism in equal measure is ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’. Martin wrote the letter in response to clergymen assertions when he was serving a jail term for pushing segregation reforms through non-violent demonstrations. The letter features a differential tone in a bid to address the state of discrimination and segregation in Birmingham and others cities against black people. The letter reveals that Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers opted for non-violent to air their grievances against violent action against Negroes. Negotiation with political leaders in Birmingham resulted in broken promises, and blacks continued to get violated. However, Martin devised a direct action program that would not feature any irresponsible action. Martin says in the letter, In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps. collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive and direct action (p. 1). The letter highlighted a course that would be postponed to protect the community that would receive thrashing by white leaders. He highlights the willingness to enter into negotiations with the leaders but only if the result of the negotiations is constructive. The Birmingham leaders addressed tension in the community, but the Martin opted for constructive, nonviolent tension. The leaders made false promises such as removal of racial signs in merchandise outlets only for them to appear a few weeks after negotiations. The letter reveals the black leaders concur with the negotiations though the cities such as Southland continued to receive attacks by white racists (p.2). The acts of the group were untimely which gave the racial proliferations to continue in Birmingham and other cities. The differential tone of the letter is addressed by Martin reiterations about Negro injustices and impatience with the racial policies. Martin reveals even children know that white people discriminate against blacks. He wrote, Daddy why do white people treat colored people so mean (p.2). The period of endurance ran out for Martin and all black people who were on the receiving end. The movement wanted to confront the state of discrimination head one without thinking about the obvious repercussions. The writing also reveals that the differential Supreme laws irked Martin, which only required strict adherence by blacks and excluding the whites. Some of the laws were directed at the minority communities that consisted of black people. He is discontented by the differential church actions that do not support the course of justice for all (p.6).In conclusion, the differential tone in Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired by social discrimination and segregation of blacks. The letter targets white church and political leaders in Birmingham who contributed to the success of segregation. The resolve to engage in direct action and to assert that the blacks have run out of patience supports the differential tone of the letter. He is quick use the term ‘Negroes’ in all his forceful addresses to the clergymen. Work CitedLuther King Jr., Martin. Letter From A Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]. Africa.upenn.edu. N.p., 2015. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King