In the “letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he uses pathos, logos and rhetorical devices such as imagery, sarcasm and biblical allusions to show how his work of nonviolent protests are smart and how Birmingham has violated their civil rights. He expresses himself in his letter by explaining why he can not wait any longer because of the countless murders, the unsolved bombing, lynching, and violence towards the black community. MLK Jr. came across a statement which was a call for unity by eight Clergymen while being in the Birmingham city jail because of him not having a license to protest. In response to the eight Clergymen, Dr. king decided to write a historical letter letting them know that freedom was not an option because of the false promise and the continued violence. The letter is written to inform the people who are against, neutral and with segregation that it is time to take action and prove to the clergymen why he will stand up for what is right.
King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. With a tone remains polite, respectful, even almost apologetic, and friendly, this letter was written in response to a claim made by eight white clergymen criticizing the actions and ideas of Dr. King and his group as unwise and wrong. According to S. Jonathan Bass argued, “the letter served as a tangible, reproducible account of the long road to freedom in a movement that was largely centered around actions and spoken words” (Bass). Beginning the letter with a greeting sentence “My dear fellow clergymen”, Dr. King explains the reasons his presence as well as his uses of nonviolence and direct action in Birmingham. When King says: “I am here because I was invited here.
Here, Martin Luther King Jr. is inferring that violence is not necessary to convey a message or fight for what one believes, and that attaining justice isn 't limited to the act of violence. King does not believe in using violence to fight violence and uses ethos to appeal to the audience: "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly" (King 65). This is similar to the saying that two wrongs don 't make a right. King is acknowledging that being violent to respond to violence is only going to cause more chaos which in terms is not right; he is thinking about consequence. Malcolm X 's speech is fueled with anger and rage.
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. When a federal injunction was put into place to prevent the protest without permission of the city, Martin Luther King Jr. persevered and decided to go on with the campaign.
Dr. King’s way of speech in “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” starts off with, “My Dear fellow Clergymen,” which seems oddly reserved. He had learned that Birmingham clergymen had issued a declaration critiquing him and flattering the city’s narrow-minded police influence, when Dr. King had been in solitary quarantine. Due to this, anyone could agree that Dr. King had every right to write an enraged letter. However, his topic was not to go off on this matter, but to explain himself. Thus, Dr. King starts his letter with “fellow clergymen,” which depicts the main idea of his argument, which is “brotherhood.” Angered by this critique, he maintains a diplomatic tone throughout the letter.
Also, King fought for desegregation all over the world, he felt it was wrong and very distasteful of people to treat and make people use different vicinities based on their skin color. So he also marched and spoke on the segregation laws and how he wanted them for not only his people but all people no matter their race. During this time, it was also illegal for blacks and whites to date which King spoke briefly against. King believed that people should be able to love whomever they please no matter their race and that people also should not judge other people for dating outside their race. It was well known during that time that black men were beaten or even hung for just catcalling a white woman, let alone having a sexual relationship with white women.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was written during a time period of social change in America. Not only were neighborhoods, businesses, and schools almost totally segregated, but also Black Americans suffered humiliation, insult, embarrassment, and discrimination daily by whites. The oppression of Black Americans prompted King to write a letter that tries to appeal to the white moderates in hopes of receiving support and involvement for the movement. The letter effectively argues that his actions are justified and are timely by using rhetoric like pathos, ethos, and logos. The use of rhetoric allows for
In the letter “Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. writes to the Clergyman to express his idea on the racial discrimination and injustice going on in Birmingham Alabama. Martin Luther King Jr. writes his letter while being held in Birmingham Jail after being arrested for participating, in a non-violent anti segregation march. During this time violence against African Americans was so bad in Birmingham it needed to be addressed and taken care of. Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical strategies in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in order to convince the religious leaders of Birmingham that they could wait no longer for justice and that the only course was direct action. The religious leaders of Birmingham wrote a letter, “A Call for Unity”, were they expressed a concern about how racial discrimination should be handled by the courts and how it is not King’s Place, for he is an outsider, to interfere with the injustice in the City of Birmingham.
Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most iconic people of the 20th century. One of the reasons Martin Luther King Jr. was such a great and influential revolutionary in the context of civil rights is because of his mastery of ethos, pathos, and logos. Even today when mentioning King’s name in a conversation commands respect which shows just how great of a character he was, which demonstrates ethos. King also had the ability to connect emotionally with people of all different races and could easily be seen as an embodiment of the civil rights movement. Last, but not least King demonstrated logos through his words, he was a very well educated man who articulated himself well and could appeal to logic with ease.
Martin Luther King wrote in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in response to eight white clergymen who attempted to unite white society against the civil rights movement with their article “A Call for Unity”. King painstakingly wrote and released his letter. Within its contents, Dr. King argued that the civil rights movement was a human movement not a black person 's movement. Indicating that he wants everyone to prosper. This makes a complete difference as far as the reason behind the movement and the intentional effects that the person is intended for.