“Injustice Anywhere, Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”

While reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” I came across the immortalized words for which this post is named. In the fourth paragraph of his letter, King draws attention to the fact that although he was safe from extreme persecution, he was unable to rest with peace of mind knowing that there were plenty of others in towns like Birmingham that were suffering. King was proactive in a matter that he didn’t necessarily have to get involved in, which got me thinking about our responsibility when it comes to the matters of others.

The sect of moral thinking called deontological ethics, will say that when we have the opportunity to act right it is our duty to do so. King was so moved by his goal that he felt it was his duty to fight for civil rights for those who were unable to fight themselves. Do we always have a responsibility to fend for those who can’t fight their own battles? It’s an idea that is easier to think about than act upon. I know that I wouldn’t be quick to jail myself for the benefit of others regardless of how involved I was with any movement.

In his letter King not only makes it clear that it was not only his choice to fight for civil rights in Birmingham, but writes as if to say it was obligatory. He casually states that he is in Birmingham, “…because injustice is here.” He took up his cause with such passion and commitment that the negative consequences became irrelevant in his stand for the greater good. King felt the need to fight for others when he was able, and so many times today it’s comforting to know that he is not alone.

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2 thoughts on ““Injustice Anywhere, Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”

  1. I like that this stood out to you. It reminds me of the movie “National Treasure” when Nicolas Cage’s character talks about the Declaration stating that those who have the ability, have the responsibility. It is so powerful to think that there are people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. out there taking the responsibility upon themselves to make the lives of others better while not caring for what happens to them. Many of these value, however, have been lost in the majority, or so it seems with all the horrible events happening in the world today. Reading King’s words make me ashamed yet, inspired to do more than I have been.

  2. Martin Luther as become a hero for millions of people throughout the world. He fought for what he believed in; he fought for what was morally right. He fought for justice that so many African Americans are now enjoying in this beautiful country. He wanted the voice of his people to be heard, we wanted equal justice for his brothers and sisters, for mothers and fathers. He was very tired of seeing his own people killed by angry hateful white men.
    Wherever there is injustice, there will never be peace in the hearts of people. Mr. King, spoke of the fact that segregation is not a good thing, it smashes hearts and it is brutally cruel. From reading his letter, I could see much hurt and frustration. Mr. King said, “for years now he has heard the word, wait”. The word wait he believed was constantly ringing in the ears of the “Negros”. Mr. King wrote his letter with such passion and love for his people. He let the clergymen know just how disappointed and sad he was, with tears in his eyes daily.

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