Rhetorical Analysis: Letter from Birmingham City Jail “I think I should give my reason for being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of outsider’s coming in (King,1963).” Dr. King was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he was one of the most visible spokesperson. Dr. King wrote “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” for the purpose of explaining why he was in a Birmingham, Alabama, jail and also talking about segregation and how hard it was on people. Dr. King’s letter shows how hard he was fighting for freedom, and how horrendous segregation was.
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.
First, the SCLC confirmed that Birmingham had been practicing institutionalized racism, and then attempted to negotiate with white business leaders there. When those negotiations broke down because of promises the white men broke, the SCLC planned to protest through “direct action.” Before beginning protests, however, they underwent a period of “self-purification,” to determine whether they were ready to work nonviolently, and suffer indignity and arrest. When they decided they could, they then prepared to protest. King was met with unusually harsh conditions in the Birmingham jail.
We all know Martin Luther King Jr. ,right? We know him as the man who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech. Which was a step in the civil rights movement to fight for African American rights. Well, besides that monumental speech, he also wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail”.
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.
On April 12, 1963, eight clergymen wrote an open letter, “A Call for Unity”. In this published letter, the clergymen expressed their strong disapproval of the civil rights demonstrations taking place in Birmingham, Alabama. That same day, civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for protesting without a permit. In his short eleven-day jail sentence, Dr. King directly responded to the clergymen with a letter of his own. In his letter, Dr. King informed his readers about the protests in Birmingham.
During the late 1960’s, Birmingham was the most segregated city in the United States. Riddled with high racial tension throughout the city, it gained its name of “Bombingham.” This was due to the fact that there were 60 unsolved bombings. With the city of Birmingham in ruins Martin Luther king was quoted in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, “I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.” Martin Luther king used the misfortune in birmingham in order bring out reform and revamp the civil rights movement.
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.
JoAnna Guzman AP English Period 4 Mrs. Solis 5 February 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. letter “ Letter from Birmingham Jail” was a response to eight Alabama clergymen of 1963. The clergymen had accused King of being an “outsider” and interfering with the racial issues of the community of Birmingham. When writing in response to the eight clergymen from Alabama Martin Luther King Jr. uses the rhetorical device of historical and biblical allusions.
Abraham Lincoln died for civil rights when slavery was abolished when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, but still African-Americans were being discriminated and segregated form the whites. True equality was not shown until The Civil Rights Act of 1965 that desegregated schools, restaurants, and other locations in America was signed gave African-Americans a chance at true freedom and equality which is what America is supposed to mean. For 100 years the battle for civil rights was fought and came true, it took a nation to be divide to go to war with each other. It also started a huge movement in America in the 1960s that revolutionized a country and changed it forever. King believed in this change and was able to lead a movement and succeed with it.
2.4 Rhetorical Analysis In April of 1963, while incarcerated in Birmingham City jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an influential letter defending his anti-segregation protests. King had been arrested while participating in a peaceful anti-segregation march, although several local religious groups counted on King for support. Since King’s arrest, he had time to think deeply about the situation; therefore, he decides to reply back to the Alabama clergymen. Who had criticize Martin Luther King because he was simply doing something that was right and violence was not needed for King.
On April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. while confined in the Birmingham City Jail wrote a letter to the clergymen whom disapproved of his actions by calling him and other nonconformists “outsiders coming in”. During the civil rights movement the city of Birmingham was known to be one of the most segregated city in the United States. The City of Birmingham was known for its police brutality against blacks. They’re where also many unsolved cases such as bombing of homes and churches occupied by blacks. Kings letter was an opportunity for him to express the purpose behind the nonviolent campaign.
They were also on the bottom of the industrial chain. The continuance of these problems had a disastrous effect on African Americans and their families. The Black Panthers Party eventually began to stand up for themselves and fight back. They strongly believed in self-defense.
Martin Luther King Junior was the leader of several peaceful protests against the segregation of African American people in the American South. In his Letter form a Birmingham Jail, King responds to the eight clergymen who published an open letter in the local newspaper entitled A call to Unity that ultimately criticized King’s antics directly. King’s powerful yet eloquent use of different literary techniques, especially Aristotle’s persuasive appeals of ethos, pathos and logos, clearly delivers a potent message to his audience. The persuasive appeal logos, according to Aristotle, appeals to a reader’s sense of reason.
One crime, for example, occurred after the end of the Civil War, when former slaves went to vote, and total of sixteen African Americans were elected to office. This election caused violent reactions in the southern states by several hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan (records of rights.org). These violent outbreaks took a major toll on the lives of an African American. Because the government was scared to challenge the white supremacist groups, the black’s rights were not enforced, and they became, again, like slaves, who were mistreated, and had no say in their politics or the actions of the government. The actions of the hate groups not only effected an African American’s political power, but also their daily lives.