Throughout history, we see our leaders discuss issues with us through speeches. It ranges from a presidential speech to a community leader’s speech. The writings of the speech can be reflecting, reporting, explaining, or arguing. The primary goal is usually persuasion. In “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. and “A More Perfect Union” by Barack Obama, both authors acknowledge that the African American community has suffered even with the abolish of slavery. Dr. King discusses being confined in Birmingham Jail. He was arrested for participating in a nonviolent protest concerning segregation in businesses.
The simple reason he is in Birmingham is because injustice is here(289). He goes on to mention that the most segregated city in the country is Birmingham. The city is known for the brutality against the African American community. There have been numerous bombing in black homes and churches that are a mystery (290). Obama discusses the struggle and hardships of the black community. Although being black, he had the opportunity of education. This opportunity did not spread throughout the black community. Obama reminds us of the Brown vs. Board of Education case.
The case is about racial segregation in schools. The difference of achievement in black and white students is because of segregated schools still being in existence. Black students had lower quality education than that of white students (308). Although touching on the same topic, both letters are very different. King has an argumentative tone while Obama has more of a reflecting tone. Obama begins reflection on the signing of the Constitution and King argues about injustice by his very sentencing in Birmingham. Unlike King, Obama discusses the anger of white people.
Obama says, “In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. ” They give a lifetime of work just to watch their jobs get outsourced. The similarities in both authors is plentiful. King talks about realizing that black people were victims of broken promises. They were presented an opportunity to negotiate with merchants and racial signs in their businesses. As the time went by, there was little to no change (290).
This relates to Obama talking about the lack of economic opportunity against black men. The effect is they can’t provide for their families. King says, “injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ” This relates to Obama speaking on both black and white anger being counterproductive. The anger of everyone disguises the thieves of the middle class (309). I think both works of writing are still very relevant today. Dr. King’s letter is a reminder to the black community of what they have overcome. King himself mentions, “oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. I think this single quote should be motivation to strive for success.
Obama’s writing is also motivation for success. He quotes William Faulker, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even the past. ” History does not need to repeat itself. Reminders of injustice are not necessary (307). Therefore, the African American community has suffered even after the ending of slavery. Segregation has limited them to many opportunities. Black people always had to go through hardship to get what they want. People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama advocate equality amongst everybody in our nation.