Light in the Letter



When Martin Luther King Jr. was writing a response letter from a prison cell to eight Alabama clergy men, who questioned King’s methods, King was certainly aware of the significance of his actions and his writing, it is clearly seen in his letter. His actions were justified by great minds, were coming from right circumstances, and causes.

The whole letter enriched me with a lot of dense information, it charged my mind with knowledge, left me in awe. King kept writing about how there is no time for waiting, because at that point waiting meant never. He talked how the fight for freedom does not know convenience.

I began envisioning King writing in the cell. Oppression from outside the walls and within as well. I envision everything is cuddled with darkness, and only one light, so strong, so beautiful illuminates everything. The light is King’s soul, mind, and body.

It is refreshing just to see such a powerful writing in the text book. Everything in it is just direction and opinions, at least from what we had to read thus far. However, King’s letter to me stood out, this writing was part of a movement, of an engine that improved the world.

My favorite is that King’s letter shows what a rich personality he is, examples would be the numerous references to historical thinkers, it shows that King was living in a room filled with those numerous voices, which guided him through the darkness, which helped him to improve the world, by referencing them King reminded to the society of the greatness that is underneath all prejudice. The richness of his personality is also expressed through the length of the letter. At the end of the letter King concludes by pointing out that he did write a lot. When I picture the atmosphere and the setting of where the letter was written, I understand that it is what partially drove him to write, writing was his escape route at that moment.


7 thoughts on “Light in the Letter

  1. Great blog post! I agree with the statement on how Martin Luther King Jr. is a very intellectual man. I definitely agree with the statement you make about the light in the prison cell is his mind and intellect. His letter is very empowering; however, I do think that he writes excessively in his letter, especially when he elaborates on the Christianity faith. I understand that he is the leader for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, but I felt like he could have briefly explained what the faith was about, instead of lengthening his letter by talking about it. Also, you could have explained that the letter is like a crescendo. The letter starts off good and comes out strong with an empowering message that African Americans should be treated equally towards the whites. Overall, you talk about a great idea of how he wrote a great letter in the prison cell, but I just felt that you needed to elaborate a little more.

  2. This is a really good post, and I really like how you said “ this writing was part of a movement, of an engine that improved the world.” I too really enjoyed MLK’s letter. I find it incredible how he was able to write such a sophisticated paper and how he used very strong appeals and language in order to sway the clergy men to take action. From his references to historical figures to the “crescendo” moment in his letter, his message is clear. However, I don’t think it was necessary to add so much detail in the paper. Some parts he goes on and on and to me the message feels lost at some points. But the fact that the letter is a bit excessive doesn’t changed the fact that this letter has universal significance for people of all races and religion.

  3. Great post! i liked the analogies you used to describe his letter and situation: The only light shining in darkness being that of “Kings soul, mind, and body”. His writing being that from a “movement…the engine that improved the world”. I definitely agree that him being in jail was his escape for that moment, his way of breaking out from the mind set of being behind bars. In the moments he was writing the letter he was free and was able to address the world in which he was partially not a part of.

  4. I agree with you in that it was a very detailed and rich letter to the clergymen. He had a lot to say, and he wanted his voice to be heard even from his prison cell. What struck me the hardest was the sentence about how African Americans were treated and that there was no time to “wait.” They had been waiting their entire lives and they were getting impatient. They were treated so poorly out of pure disrespect; mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, they all had the chance of being lynched, hung, etc., without a second thought. Times like these were very scary, and they were extremely fortunate to have someone like Martin Luther King Jr. standing up for their rights. You can just imagine King in his cell writing this letter with such passion and anger. You can tell he is a very intellectual man and I really enjoyed reading his powerful message.

  5. I also enjoyed reading Martin Luther King’s letter, like you I was also left in awe. I thought his letter was very well organized and he put so much feeling into it, that it made me see all the oppression he was in. One of the saddest parts, was when he was talking about the children and how they are forced to see how white people, and black people cannot be friends or how many fun things for children are closed to colored children. This moment made me get goose bumps, because it was so sad to imagine how rough they really had it. I also liked how King kept saying they could not wait any longer, because the longer they waited the least likely they would see a change. I also believe that writing was a way for him to escape a world full of hatred.

  6. I definitely enjoyed reading this interesting blog post. Martin Luther King obviously was a great man with courage to have written “a response letter to eight Alabama clergy men who questioned King’s methods,” while being held in jail. Although it does not say the clergy men’s’ race, they were most likely the southern white racists, that King was trying to seek freedom from.
    The writer uses wonderful personification to contrast the dark cell room, from the interior light coming from “King’s soul, mind, and body.” Even though he is trapped in a cell, he still has the drive to carry on and persevere against all odds. I’m glad someone took the time to write such an insightful blog, and I am now interested in reading the response letter.

  7. this is a really good post. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote to keep the movement alive and to keep the people informed. He showed how empowerment didn’t have any blockade on stopping what he believed in. Being in that jail cell kept restrictions on him but just like we have restrictions outside a jail cell we still find ways to get around them.

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