*Essay Quiz #2 is based on the reading below (the paragraph and the link). This reading is not assessed on your Exams.
Letter from the Birmingham Jail
The Civil Rights Movement began in order to help African Americans gain equal rights in the United States. Despite the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, enacted during Reconstruction, African Americans experienced rampant abuse throughout the South. White Southerners hindered Blacks from participating in the political system, economic system, and social system in the South. African Americans who sought to challenge White dominance often experienced persecution that ranged from beatings and bombings to violent lynchings. In spite of all of the negative consequences of challenging White authority, many African Americans and their supporters continued to fight for racial equality. Different groups chose to take up the fight for civil rights in a variety of ways. The NAACP utilized the legal system to win rights for African Americans. Groups like CORE used non-violent direct action to fight against things like segregation. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) an organization composed mainly of religious figures used a variety of methods to fight for rights. Often, members of the SCLC were arrested for protesting in the South and sometimes the organization used women and children in order to gain public sympathy for their cause. Not everyone who supported the movement agreed with these methods. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the leaders of the SCLC, was arrested and religious officials in Birmingham, AL responded by criticizing his methodology. In “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Jr. responds to his critics about how his actions also support the movement for civil rights. Why you are reading, think about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s methods and why some people may not agree with them.
Read the above paragraph and
“Letter from the Birmingham Jail”
<https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html> for your Essay Quiz #1.
Answer the following questions in a well-formed essay of at least 500 words:
Consequences–Why are people demonstrating in Birmingham? What are some of the consequences they may face as protesters? Why do you think they still chose to protest despite the harm it could do to them?
Understanding Ethical Choices–In his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. argued that it is okay to disobey laws that are morally wrong because in reality when you disobey a morally bad law you are “expressing the highest respect for law”. How does he apply that belief to his fight for the rights of African Americans in the United States? Could he have done the same thing while also obeying the laws?
Intercultural Competence—What are some of the reasons why the author argues that African Americans cannot “wait” any longer for justice? Do all African Americans agree with the author or is there dissent among the community when it comes to pursuing justice? How do Southern Whites think about justice differently for the African American community (do Southern Whites think the African American community’s current situation warrants justice)? What cultural biases are preventing African Americans and Southern Whites from agreeing on this topic?
Knowledge of Civic Responsibility and Engagement with Communities–If you faced a similar circumstance to Martin Luther King, Jr., how would you react if the government issued a law that you felt was morally wrong or hurt your community? (Think about the kinds of avenues (legal or illegal) you have available for recourse against such a law and what things your community could do to fight against it.)
**Make sure to include an introduction and a conclusion to your essay.
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