Ethos In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Jake Edwards Professor Messersmith Comp II 3/3/13 Kings Keys to Success Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known as the leader of the African-American civil rights movement, an activist, humanitarian, and one of the greatest speakers of all time. However, what makes him a good leader and good speaker? What makes his words so permanent and ingrained in so many people’s minds? In Kings writing “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, he uses many different rhetorical strategies that not only draw his viewers and listeners in, but also makes them feel powerful and useful. Kings speaking and leadership abilities can be broken down into the three rhetorical appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos. Each one of these appeals brings light to the reasoning behind the …show more content…

King succeed are his reputation and authority, or ethos. “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 affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights” (378). By stating he is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he gives his reputation to insure his followers that he is credible for what he is saying. Dr. King is also a Baptist minister, and he compares many of his ideas to examples in the bible. “It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians” (387) and “I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle” (381). Dr. King uses these analogies and examples to show his followers he knows the subject matter at hand. This is another example of King showing his reputation for knowing the …show more content…

Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority (385). Dr. King’s use of logic helps his readers to understand and feel the power from which Dr. King is speaking with. His logic draws the reader in and gives the facts straight forward. Lastly, Dr. King draws the readers in by talking about personal struggle and struggles about the south with segregation through the use of pathos (appeals to emotion). Dr. King tells many stories that can relate to the readers at that time and make them feel powerful in there civil rights movement. His brutal stories make an uprising of the black

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