Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Many people believe in the word “Activism,” but they have never truly experienced what it means to be an “Activist”. During the Spring of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was embroiled in the civil rights struggle when he penned his now famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. To completely understand Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, you have to understand why it was written. It was, while King was in jail for 11 days in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights struggles of 1963, written in response to a local newspaper article written by 8 local white clergymen. In that article they questioned why he was there (he was loosely referred to as an outsider) and the timing of the peaceful protests. He was arrested for demonstrating (following a protest earlier that day) without a permit (an Alabama state circuit court injunction against protests) for the fair and equal treatment of Blacks in Birmingham, Alabama. He writes the letter to these 8 fellow clergyman that had written the newspaper article. In the letter he lets them know in no uncertain terms that he is not an outsider. He also addresses the timing of the protests to the clergyman. He accomplishes this using many examples of rhetoric. King immediately establishes psychological reciprocity thru the use of ethos by stating he is a clergyman also. He addresses them as his “My Dear Fellow Clergymen” (King, p.1). He also states early in the letter that appeals to the clergyman’s feelings using

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