The Achievement of Racial Equality

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"Letter from Birmingham Jail" vs. "I Am Prepared to Die"
In both Martin Luther King, JR's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and Nelson Mandela's "I Am Prepared to Die", the authors present their idealistic views of racial equality and their ideas of how that equality should be achieved. In his letter, King states, "I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere" (224). With these statements, King concentrates on the injustice around him and how that prejudice affects King and his people everywhere. He chooses to peacefully strive to achieve the goal of a socially and racially equal society. In his statement in the Pretoria Supreme Court, Mandela says,
I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. (267)
Here Mandela states that he has, as does King, an idealistic notion of a racially equal society, but that he is ready to do whatever possible, including using violent action, to achieve it. Both writers express a compassion for creating a peaceful environment; both writers speak of fighting for their cause but with different types of action. King reflects on the problem and the peaceful methods he uses to fix it, while Mandela stresses that he will use whatever means necessary, including violent ones, to fix it. In this comparative analysis, we will explore the different methods of activism King and Mandela each use to achieve their common goal of a racially impartial world.
Martin Luther King, JR spent his days of activism engaging in a peaceful battle wi