1860 through 1877 America witnessed a bloody war that resulted in several constitutional and social developments, all attempting to break the established black subordination social order prevalent in the South. By 1877 the Civil War and Reconstruction had ended, and the social revolution had failed. There are two key parts to a revolution: force, and its use to bring a new order to society. There was certainly force during this time period, with Confederate lost and the Union’s military presence in the conquered land, the South had no choice but to accept the Constitutional Amendments and other acts that Congress had passed. However, for every policy that Congress had forced on the South, there was a loophole or an act of violence that fought against it.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the letter from jail, after he got arrested during a peaceful protest. At the time segregation was still a part of the culture in the United States and Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers were working diligently and peacefully to try and make a change in people’s hearts about segregation. In this letter MLK Jr. is writing to defend his strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism, which he does effectively by using rhetoric. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference focused on Birmingham, Alabama to start a nonviolent direct action campaign with the goal to get the city to get rid of segregation laws.
After we had fought the brutal, decimating Civil War, white supremacy in the caused our nation to take two steps further than we were even before the War. Obviously, hearing this, sounds like extreme conflict. Ironically enough though, this major step back in history was called, “The Compromise of 1877.” Unfortunately, this “compromise” did way more harm than good for African Americans.
A “letter from Birmingham Jail” is regarded as one of the most notable examples of rhetoric argument in American history, this letter was written by Martin Luther King in April 16 1963 as a response to “A Call for Unity” an open letter written by eight clergymen critiquing King’s peaceful movement calling it “unwise and untimely.” Martin Luther King confutes this eight clergy men by masterfully rebutting his opponents’ claims through a skillful use of different modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. This rhetorical paper will meticulously review these mentioned rhetorical appeals. An effective attempt of persuasion should begin by the persuader stablishing his authority in order to achieve credibility and empathy.
While in solitary confinement for nearly 8 days, reverend and social justice activist, Martin Luther King Jr., wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail in response to the criticism he received for his non-violent protests. Several clergy who negatively critiqued King’s approach of seeking justice, wrote A Call for Unity, arguing that his protests were senseless and improper. Within the article, the clergymen provide nine different critiques that asserted how King’s protest are invalid, uneffective, and simply unintelligent in the fight for obtaining justice and equity for individuals of color. His letter has become one of the most profound pieces of literature of the 20th century, as King uses vivid examples and eloquent rhetorical devices to counter all nine arguments.
Amidst the intense Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and put in solitary confinement for peacefully protesting racial discrimination and injustice in Birmingham, Alabama. It was during this time that Dr. King, refusing to sit idly by, wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” one of the most inspiring documents in history. With his respectful nature, humility, compassion, optimism, and determination, King responded to a group of white Alabama clergymen who had condemned the civil rights protests as extreme in their open letter, “A Call for Unity.” Although his letter was directed towards a small group of eight men, his words eventually reached the minds and hearts of the entire country. Throughout the letter, Dr. King does a tremendous job of supporting his argument with the three elements of Aristotle’s rhetorical appeal.
(King Jr., p. 645) Dr. King was an activist and he showed support where ever and whenever he was invited, therefore he explains the reason why he was in Birmingham. In addition, he mentions that everyone living within in the U.S.
In a “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical devices. For example, MLK uses repetition in his letter. In paragraph 31, he repeats the word “extremists” several times to redefine the word so it's less negative. MLK also uses an analogy in his letter, by comparing himself to the Apostle Paul.
We, therefore, concur with you in your call for negotiation” (11). In addition, he explains that current attempts to confront the issue of prejudice in Birmingham remain unsuccessful and that it is “...necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis…” (11). This leads the way to King gaining the audience’s undivided attention and paving the way for him to in more detail explain the logic behind why prejudice is unjust and
In terms of legacies, Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of someone whose legacy has left an impact on a great many fields. The first to come to mind for most would be civil rights activism, as he was an instrumental figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. However, Martin Luther King Jr is an extremely influential figure in the field of oration and rhetoric. His Letter from Birmingham Jail is a work that he wrote while incarcerated in the Birmingham City Jail in response to criticism from Alabama clergymen. This letter is a prime example of King’s expertise in constructing persuasive rhetoric that appealed to the masses at large.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which was written in April 16, 1963, is a passionate letter that addresses racial segregation and all the injustices to the black American society. He writes this letter as a response to the eight clergymen, but it also became one of the most influential letters in defense of nonviolent movement ever written. Birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in the country and the most violent. Even after segregation was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954. In Birmingham, white and black Americans were very much separate with “white only” hotels, restaurants, and even bathrooms.
King uses rhetoric in The Letter of Birmingham Jail to advance his purpose powerfully. King writes this letter as a response to the eight clergymen that indirectly target his actions and state false accusations. These eight clergymen do not understand the rationale King advocates throughout his non-violent protests, therefore King retaliates by writing a letter. This letter uses rational tone throughout to get these eight men and even more so the public to understand the purpose of his activist movements.