According to Luther (1963), injustice cannot be confined to one place and if it happens in a given locality it’s bound to spread to the other parts. All communities are interrelated and if injustices affect one part of the community directly, it affects the entire society indirectly.
He further asserts that, the whites in Birmingham city disapprove of the demonstrations staged by the Negroids, but it does not solve the underlying causes. Segregate and selective conformity to law leads to anarchy, resentment and violence in the society. This is because the oppressed want to have their birth rights and will continuously push towards this goal.
Birmingham city has the most cases of racial injustices and the evils that come with it in the United States. The courts treat the Negroids unjustly, their homes and churches are bombed and these cases go unresolved. Negro leaders have continuously sought for negotiations with the whites to no avail.
According to Luther (1963), in negotiations which materialized, promises were made by the merchants to remove degrading racial signs, concurrently Negroid leaders and supporters agreed to suspend all demonstrations. The merchants did not keep their part of the deal, this lead to great disappointment to the Negroids and left them with no option rather than direct action which involved peaceful demonstrations and workshops.
Direct action seeks to create tension, draw attention to issues which have long been ignored and force negotiations. Luther (1963) asserts that there has not been any gain in civil rights without legal and diplomatic pressure. Privileged groups rarely give up their privileges without being coarsed. Segregation lowers victims self esteem, and instills inner fears and outward resentments and this makes individuals anxious and eager to deliberately break laws.
According to Luther (1963), there are unjust and just laws. A just law comprehends the ethics of the moral law and the natural law. An individual has both legal and moral responsibility to conform to just laws. Just laws encourage human personality and existence.
Unjust law is a set of laws which is not in accord with the moral law. St. Aquinas (4) says that unjust laws are manmade, and do not have a basis in the moral law and the law of god. One has a right to refuse to comply with unjust laws. Unjust laws humiliate human personality and existence.
Segregation destroys the soul and damages personality. The segregator gains a fake sense of supremacy and the victim gains a fake sense of inadequacy. Segregation negatively affects political, economical and cultural sectors in a society and it’s also a sin and unethical.
According to Luther (1963), a just law can be made unjust by its application. For instance, he was arrested for parading without legal authorization. It’s just to demand for permits and peaceful parading but when the process of acquiring the permit is selective, the law becomes unjust. Luther (1963) asserts that a person who defies an unjust law and is willing to accept the consequences of his/her action so as to awaken the community’s conscience over the prevailing injustices, demonstrates a great respect of law.
Segregation leads to resentment and hatred which lead to masses resulting to violence. According to Luther (1963), this has been witnessed in various groups made up of Negroids who have been frustrated by racism, have no faith in America and repudiate Christianity because Christian leaders have remained silent over the core issues of segregation which affect the society.
The oppressed will attain their freedom at some point. If the oppressed express their grievances in a nonviolent manner, they will be forced to express them through violence.
Luther, Martin. “Letter from a Birmingham jail”. African Studies Center. Web. 27 March 2012.