Dawn McNeil-Bruce English 2100 Professor Andrews- Parker 10/21/15 The Rhetorical Techniques in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” The unjust treatment of African Americans have cause a significant amount of African American leaders to use different ways to advocate for racial equality. One very famous advocate was Martin Luther King Jr. On April 16, 1963, Dr. King had written a letter from Birmingham jail to eight clergymen towards racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. had used this letter to convince the clergymen of the racial injustice towards African Americans. In order to persuade his audience Dr. King had used rhetorical devices to appeal to them. Martin Luther King Jr. uses an urgent tone to his
The Letter from Birmingham Jail, also known as the Letter from Birmingham Jail and The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King Jr. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism. It says that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take direct action rather than waiting potentially forever for justice to come through the courts. Responding to being referred to as an “outsider,” King writes, “Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere”. The letter, written during the 1963 Birmingham campaign, was widely published, and became an important text for the American Civil Rights Movement.
In his letter, Dr. King informed his readers about the protests in Birmingham. He explained why the protesters were civilly infringing racist laws and city ordinances; why the protesters had truth and justice; and how he was thwarted with the clergyman and white moderates in the South who said they supported his cause. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Dr. King incorporates biblical and historical allusions to give him credibility with his target audience, the clergymen. Additionally, Dr. King subtly asks rhetorical questions and makes logical conclusions to force his audience to consider his strategy of nonviolent resistance to cease racism and oppression. Throughout his piece, Dr. King uses many strong connections to biblical theologians and philosophers that strengthen his appeal and credibility.
While people chose the way of demonstrations to overcome this corruption, some clergymen representatives published a so called Call for Unity in the newspaper. In this appeal they called the process of defending rights of people unwise and untimely. As a response to this claim, Martin Luther wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, reflecting the African American desire to get
The criticism made by the these eight clergyman epitomize the idea of whiteness and white privilege. Rather than to offer assistance and guidance for King and his efforts to diminish racial injustices prevalent in the South, they, instead, offer criticism in an attempt to depreciate King’s fight for racial equity. This rhetoric has occurred often throughout American history, where we see white individuals devaluing and hindering the progress made by individuals of color. For example, one of the critiques that King received was that The Negro community should be more patient and wait for society to move gradually toward civil rights. What white individuals fail to understand is that there is no such thing
Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were both powerful African American figures in history who spoke on the issue of discrimination against blacks and equal rights. While Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were both advocates for African Americans and had similar goals, they preached opposing methods, ideas and beliefs. Martin Luther King, a christian man, passionately upheld the idea of seeking freedom through nonviolent actions, depicted in his speech ‘I have a Dream’. Malcolm X practiced ideas which were inspired by the Muslim teachings and condoned fighting back and ‘playing fire with fire’ which he portrays in “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech. Despite their disagreements, ultimately, Martin and Malcolm both aimed for freedom and equal rights in America but their beliefs, methods, and deliveries were different.
Civil Disobedience Compare and Contrast Henry Thoreau and Martin Luther King both wrote persuasive discussions that oppose many ideals and make a justification of their cause, being both central to their argument. While the similarity is obvious, the two essays, Civil Disobedience by Thoreau and Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. do have some similarities. King tries persuading white, southern clergymen that segregation is an evil, unfair law that ought to defeat by use of agitation of direct protesting. Thoreau, on the other hand, writes to a broader, non-addressed audience, and focuses more on the state itself. He further accepts it at its current state, in regard to the battle with Mexico and the institution of slavery.
Both Atticus Finch and A. Philip Randolph are men that challenged these so called social norms when they stood up for civil rights Atticus FInch was a lawyer that tooks the case of an African American man accused of rape in the time of the Great Depression. He explains his main reasons for taking the case, ‘For a number of reasons,’ said Atticus. ‘The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again…Scout, simply by the
with protest, organizing, and together (unity) will bring about social change and justice. The two (2) speeches of Malcolm X and Savio were delivered to different types of audiences and both speeches dissimilar in pretexts and meaning. Malcolm X articulated how essential it was for African Americans to demand a resolve for the racial and discriminatory laws and social injustices in America. Government and its operatives were malevolence in its intent and obligations: they must exit to uphold racism and unfair practices. The political system has taken advantage of the electoral process of African Americans, and it was time that blacks demand alterations and results from the democratic process, especially the Democratic Political Party.
The answer is that in the article Mahatma Gandhi Assassinated, it states that he preached a philosophy of nonviolence and civil disobedience (the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. In Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, he also agrees with civil disobedience. They both used nonviolence when they protested, Gandhi used peaceful protesting to help the lives of Indians from the British rule. Thoreau refused to pay poll taxes to protest against slavery and an unjust government. They also both went to jail for protesting for what they thought was right.
According to Miller this is appealing to personal experience, King first hand experiences this when he gets arrested. He strongly feels that it is unjust to put a man in jail just to deny him his freedom of peaceful protest. The whites know and as well as himself knows that he is being wrongly accuse and he doesn 't deserve this unjustness. As well as appealing to ethos his character in this paragraph establishes that he is one of knowledge, he analyzes and argues in a manner that is striking. An example is when king puts into play that he agrees with laws but then says he will not stand for a law that is wrongly used to deny him his
The appeal to ethos is strengthened when it’s partnered with personal experiences. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. uses several instances of ethos throughout his letter from Birmingham Jail. He particularly references biblical figures and events, comparing them to similar actions that the civil rights movement took. “Civil disobedience… was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar”, Dr. King writes, “on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake” (King 179). Dr. King’s
This movement had its roots in the centuries-long efforts of African slaves and their descendants to resist racial oppression and abolish the institution of slavery. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, he was one of the main leaders of this movement; the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he wrote, was from a jail cell because he was given a penalty for parading without a permit. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is addressed to several clergymen who had written an open letter criticizing the actions of King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during their protests in Birmingham. Dr. King tells the clergymen that he was upset about their criticisms, and that he wishes to address their concerns. People can’t decide what race or color they want to be.
The U.S. Supreme Court encountered various difficulties in trying to overthrow Jim Crow. After the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) decision, it makes things difficult for the court to overturn its “separate, but equal” ruling. Heading into the 20th Century, Black civil rights in America, particularly in the South were met with swift opposition. It was in large part due to the Supreme Court ruling that gave those states the power to enforce discriminatory legislation. In Robert J. Cottrol book, “Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution”, he described the Jim Crow era as it dealt with public education.
King was disappointed in the biased and distorted views of his fellow religious colleagues and the fact that they showed no concern for the brutality endured by the black community. The exigence of it is Dr. King felt the necessity to defend and justify his nonviolent actions and responded to their accusations and disapproval by writing a Letter from Birmingham Jail. In his letter King wrote about racial discrimination and the struggles and inequalities faced by the black community and he intended for it to encourage and promote desegregation and equality among all nations. Being a highly educated civil rights activist, a fellow minister, and the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King declared his knowledge and experience as proof that he had the authority to speak on the issues. He strategically used biblical and historical references to expose the reality that segregation, injustice, and racism still strongly existed in Birmingham.