On April 12, 1963 the Alabamian clergymen sent out a public letter discussing the violations that Martin Luther King Jr. was causing in Birmingham. Once King saw the letter , in jail after being imprisoned for peaceful marching in the civil rights movement, he responded explaining that the clergy weren’t doing anything to help out the African American racial injustices. Martin Luther King not only responded to the Alabamian clergymen’s criticism in his letter, he also addressed the local African American community in order to successfully convince them that they need to continue fighting for their equal rights. Martin Luther King strategically uses biblical allusions, knowing that his immediate audience is the clergy, and the reference to
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.
King follows the rest of the letter with more emotional cries, which included the split that had formed within the black community, on the argument of civil rights; Some had begun to settle for segregation, including some of the clergymen who had criticized King. Near the end, he opposes the clergymen's praise toward the Birmingham Police Department, by providing a vivid description of the attack on himself and his fellow protesters, leading up to his arrest. MLK closes his letter by stating his current situation, apologizing for the letter's length, and portraying a deep sense of pity, as he wishes for all to find faith for a better future. Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham City Jail makes heavy use of ethos and logos to clarify issues and concerns from his criticizers, but relies even more on the emotional connection that it portrays on the reader. With this clarification, King is able to defend his image, and re-ignite the drive, that his imprisonment and criticism had halted, towards the progression of the Civil Rights Movement.
Summary/Assessment: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which is an organization operating in every Southern state with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He came to Birmingham, Alabama because injustice lies there and helped protest about it in a nonviolent demonstration against racial discrimination. The eight clergymen of the South did not approve of these demonstrations happening which caused Dr. King to be confined in Birmingham Jail cell, writing a letter to them men explaining on why he was in Birmingham and what his reasons were for these protests. He begins to talk about and explain the four basic steps that needed to be followed for any nonviolent campaign. He also gives the audience a better understanding by giving a visual glimpse of what the black community had to endure.
Dr. King responded to those clergymen from his jail cell in a persuasive manner. Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has his critics in the clergy who argue against his civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, he effectively uses all three types of rhetorical strategies to effectively persuade his critics by explaining why his actions are just and timely in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In his response Dr. King has to establish credibility early since his audience has already been critical of his actions, and he accomplishes this immediately. He establishes a connection with a part of his intended audience, the clergymen, by stating his role in different organizations. Dr. King writes “I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five
King was fed up with the way he and the black community were treated so he turned to peaceful protesting. King was in Birmingham because injustice was prominent. King was arrested on April 16, 1963. for ignoring an injunction by the government. During King’s time in jail, which was for eight days, he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” His letter was written to justify his actions and to defend his acts of nonviolent protests. In Dr.
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” pathos was used throughout the letter. King gives his audience a chance to experience what is happening to him and his fellow African Americans by inserting emotional events. Such as the treatment from the Birmingham police when they “pushed and cursed young Negro females and slapped and kicked young Negro males.”( King’s letter page 3) Yet after the mistreatment from the Birmingham police, King still didn’t insult them and preached to keep peacefully protest for their rights.
The Civil Rights era was a time of great turmoil and injustice for African Americans, however, Martin Luther King brought forth a tremendous amount of change through his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and his “I Have a Dream Speech”. Both documents demanded that the unjust treatment of African Americans had to change, as well heavily urged African Americans to remain peaceful and not resort to violence. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was an excellent example for demanding change since the primary message of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was calling forth white moderates along with the church to no longer sit on the sidelines and allow the injustices on African Americans to continue any further. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” focused on discussing the morality of the unjust laws created, and differentiates between man-made law and moral law. This was specifically done to show white moderates that civil disobedience was not entirely a negative thing.
Martin Luther King use of figurative language within his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, persuades his audience to rise up against the racial injustices in Birmingham. In paragraph eight, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” Dr. Martin Luther King is describing to his audience that racial injustice entraps and frustrates every person and that national policy is required to ensure that every person has a solid foundation of worth. In paragraph twelve, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted.” Dr. Martin Luther King use of “dark clouds and deep fog passing away” is to show hope for his people suffering from racial
Many people before him tried to take a stand and get past these hard times through the use of violence and were unsuccessful. Martin Luther King Jr., however, decided to take a different approach. He used civil disobedience in order to establish racial equality in Birmingham as well as the rest of the country. He did this because he knew “that he was cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. And he was unable to sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what would happened in Birmingham” meaning he knew that he if did not try to help Birmingham, other places would be affected too, and that is because when injustice occurs in one place, it indirectly affects people in other places as well (King paragraph 4).