Martin Luther King Jr. was a black revolution leader who fought for the equal rights of blacks in USA.
A priest by profession.
A philosopher and hero of the blacks.
Headed the Southern Christian Leadership and held peaceful protests.
He was arrested for a similar protest in Birmingham.
White priests sent him a letter in jail, asking him to end the demonstration and approach the court with his problem.
He wrote this in reply to their letter on 1st April 1963.
He followed Jesus' doctrine of peace and believed that with peaceful protests the cruel and unjust can be made to realize their mistake.
The letter from the white priests of Alabama was published in the newspaper Post Herald.
In the letter the clergymen said
Luther was an outsider he should stop demonstrating and negotiate with the government.
his protests were ill timed or untimely the protestors broke the law and no one should be allowed to do that.
It was illegal to hold public demonstrations in Birmingham and King was arrested on the charge of breaking that law.
In response King proved that he was definitely not an outsider, he was an American.
He also clarified that he had already tried to negotiate and appeal in the courts but nothing came from it.
The protests in Birmingham were considered a focal point of his fight against racial discrimination.
King at Press Conference, 1964. His police database snapshot
Library of Congress
John Winston Lennon (9 Oct 1940-8 Dec 1980).
Singer, song writer and musician became famous as a member of The Beatles.
In 2002, a poll about The Greatest Britons, carried out by BBC, named him the 8th greatest.
2008, Rolling Stone Magazine 5th Greatest Singer.
A peace activist, he participated in rallies and wrote songs to condemn Vietnam war and British actions in Ireland.
'Imagine' is an iconic hit and considered a peace anthem
Released in 1971, inspired from Yoko Ono's poem
Third greatest song in World music .
Based on Lennon's belief that the world, people and country's are all one .
The main idea of the song - equality, peace and harmony.
Statue in Lennon Park, Havana, Cuba.
Wikimedia Commons, 2012
Motion Picture 'Crash' was released on 6th of March 2005.
The writer and director is Paul Haggis.
The movie won Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the 2006 Academy Awards.
The movie doesn't fall into any particular category, genre or form.
Movies like 'House of Sand and Fog' and '21 Grams' which are neither comedy, nor thrillers.
The story is about several couples belonging to different races. They collide and come face-to-face with racism, prejudice and loss.
The movie seems to say that all human beings are similar and everyone is guilty of prejudice and cruelty at some point in their lives.
Scenes from the movie
The movie, song and the letter all share a common theme. They advocate equality, brotherhood, unity and justice for all. The purpose of all three is to help make the world a peaceful place, where people are not judge, degraded or treated cruelly. In my profession as a Registered Nurse it is very important to let go of personal bias and provide all patients with the same amounts of care and attention. Every individual patient's life is equally valuable.
Water being sprayed on black protesters to force them to disperse - Birmingham
(Hub Pages, 2011)
Scott, A.O, 2005
The reason he was imprisoned was that the Mayor of Birmingham was a racially biased man and he didn't want King to rouse the backs against the establishment.
Birmingham was the safe haven of segregationists (Sparksnotes.com,2012).
Language and arguments make it an essay rather than a letter.
He discusses the disparities in the way law and government treated blacks and whites, especially in Birmingham.
He addresses the white clergymen and calls upon their Christian goodness .
He invites them to eradicate segregation between blacks and whites.
He uses Biblical 'allusions' and references to Socrates principles to give weight age to his arguments and gain support for them.
The Biblical references are used to compare him and his mission to the actions of prophets and biblical events.
"A Letter from Birmingham Jail"
These references help make the religious people feel guilty . As they will think that by condemning King and his followers they were condemning the Christian leaders and principles.
He uses irony and sarcasm against the whites to show them that they are wrong in their discriminatory practices .
But he still keeps his tone light and friendly, as if he is having a nice chat.
An example of his sarcasm and humor, " I am in Birmingham because injustice is here."
He uses pathos in large quantities, like mentioning the conditions of the jail where he was imprisoned.
He then eludes to negroes as prisoners and their lives like prison.
He addressed the white public along with the priests and appealed to them for help (Dawson, C. J, 2008).
He uses it to get some reaction from the priests and the community.
His polite and respectful tone and religious referencing helped him gain the sympathy and empathy of many devout.
He ends the letter on an irony, downplaying the plight of the blacks. He does this for making the letter more effective .
Imagine can be classified as ' Classic Rock.'
It comprises of three stanzas
In each verse Lennon starts with 'imagine' asking listeners to imagine a particular scenario.
1 st: Imagine there's no heaven.
2 nd: Imagine there's no countries.
3 rd: Imagine no possession. I wonder if you can.
He moves from an easy scenario to a difficult one. With each scenario he provides a solution and an alternative:
The absence of heaven and hell, means presence of peace.
Absence of countries is also countered by 'living life in peace.'
In the end he states that if material wants are removed than people would live in harmony and peace.
Complexity of thought is countered by simplicity of verse style and tune.
It leaves an optimistic and refreshing feeling in the listeners.
It has a peaceful and simple melody.
Lennon recording a song.
Symbol for Peace
New York Times says that the movie does not fit any existing genre or form.
The story of the movie revolves around several people, all belonging to different races.
Through the course of the movie these individuals get into accidents and come across people from the other races.
A black couple, gets harassed by two white officers.
The white officers mother died in a hospital due to lack of attention and care from a black nurse.
The same officer later helps the same couple when they have an accident.
SO it is a complicated mesh where everyone acts unethically towards others at some point.
The events of the movie take place in a time duration of 36 hours.
By the end the characters have mostly either forgiven each other or feeling repentant changed themselves.
The white officer who was in the beginning seen as a law abiding person in the end kills a black young man whom he thinks is a robber.
The dialogues are very frank and open. The writer has made no effort to mask criticism of any regime or class.
The editor of the movie ' Hughes Winbourne' won an Oscar for Best Editing.
The movie was what is called an 'Indie movie' that's why its budget was low and could not cover the cost of reshooting.
The film was shot in a total of 35 days and comprised half million feet of film to be edited (Peters, O, n.d).
Paul Haggis with his own Golden Statuette
A collage of scenes from the movie
People Daily's online, 2006
A Letter From Birmingham Jail
The letter was the voice of the black against the atrocities being committed by the black.
The Birmingham population consisted of 40% blacks, 80,000 voters and only 10000of them were black. King did appeal to the courts but these were white control, so no one paid any heed.
King's letter is ingenious in the sense that without raising his voice he gained support of many white religious individuals.
The use of pathos and his sarcasm was a brilliant idea to get the clergy and the others to react and reaction means that their words being heard.
His soft tone angers the priests and authorities and makes the masses feel sympathetic.
His ploy of speaking to the population not only made him popular but also gave momentum to the movement.
Friendly, humorous. It sounds like a sermon and oozes sympathy.
All humans have a right and freedom of speech, practice of religion and action
All members of a society should be treated equally by the government and law.
A Nazi cross painted on the door of an African-American families house. This ploy…