Birmingham City Jail

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On April 16th, 1963, after being thrown in jail for protesting segregation in the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist and pastor, in his letter entitled Letter from Birmingham City Jail, urges for social equality in America and justifies his use of nonviolent protest. He supports these claims by first stating his people will gain freedom because freedom is an American right as well as a God-given right, then explicates how the methods of law enforcement are unjust because any protection of segregation is immoral, and finally claims all of the people who have made sacrifices on the path to a segregation-free America will be the people to unify the country. Through King’s use of tone,…show more content…
King’s use of pathos helps him to advances his ideas. King is able to pull to his audience’s hearts by referring to the people who fight for desegregation as heroes. He states how these heroes “will be the James Merediths… old, oppressed, battered Negro women… young high school and college students, young ministers and… their elders” (King 4). King reminds his audience that there are many heroes in the world, and the heroes who fight for segregation will be young and old. King tells his audience they can be heroes, further developing King’s view of a socially free America. King also uses effective pathos by reminding his audience how “when (protesters) sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream” (King 4). King paints the protesters as patriots taking America back to its roots as a free nation. Patriotism is essential too an absolute majority of Americans, and painting protesters as patriots not only convinces his audience to believe in King’s protesting, but it also allows for the audience to believe in the good of equality. King also uses logos to justify protest and social equality. King reminds his audience “if the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail” (King 1). King logically explains to…show more content…
King’s uses pronouns consciously in his letter to both distance himself from his critics and include himself with the rest of America. King addresses his main critics, law enforcement across America, by writing “they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of flagrant racial injustice” (King 3). King describes how the police are immoral in there protection of segregation. King also uses the pronoun ‘they’ to distance himself from his critics. By dissociating himself from the police, King implies he is moral rather than immoral, convincing King’s audience protest is justified against immoral people and social equality is moral rather than immoral. King also includes his audience in his letter, once stating “we will reach the goal of freedom” (King 1). King includes his audience in the idea of freedom for African Americans. He implies that freedom of King’s people is connected to the freedom of everyone just by using the pronoun ‘we’. King allows his audience to believe in a better future and also to connect with King’s people, unifying the country and promoting social equality. King not only uses pronouns to promote his thoughts, but he also uses repetition. King repeats the phrase “they will be the James Merediths… they will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women… they will be you high school and
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