Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter To Birmingham Jail

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Martin Luther King Jr., arguably the most well-known civil rights activist, is most credited to his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech, but he has also done some incredible influencing in a letter titled “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King addressed this letter to his colleague clergymen, superficially explaining his previous actions, but inspiring and persuading his audience to join him on the path to racial equality in between the lines, specifically by unifying his audience to himself with parallelism of the Christian faith and using the either/or fallacy to his advantage. The most obvious technique King uses is unifying his audience and himself together by repeatedly alluding to their similar faith. King alludes to past saints and other…show more content…
Though he comes off as respecting of the other clergymen, he essentially traps them into a corner of either betraying their faith and defying who they claim to be, Christian priests, or join him on the fight to racial and civil equality, appealing to the either/or fallacy. King asks his audience “the question is not whether we will be extremist, but… will we be extremist for hate or… for love?” The clergymen are compelled by guilt to be an advocate of love, rather than hate, otherwise they will be deceiving their church. King also appeals to guilt and an element of fear by mentioning specific examples of how the inequality is affecting both the People of Color but also those who are privileged, saying “ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in [the girl’s] little mental sky… developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people.” By including this powerful, intimate experience of a “colored child”, the clergymen cannot help but feel guilty and culpable for the distorted childhood that would eventually spiral into self-resentment and hatred towards the majority racial group. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful letter includes the wise words based on Saint Augustine’s philosophy that “an unjust law is not law at all,” saying that “one has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. King leaves his audience with these thoughts,
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