Pathos In Letter From Birmingham Jail

837 Words4 Pages

The writer, Martin Luther King Jr., was a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was in favor to equality. Moreover, he believed in nonviolence protest to obtain discrimination in America. On April 16, 1963, when King was in jail, he wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to justify his actions and to response the eight clergymen who called him “unwise, untimely and extreme” in the article, “A Call for Unity.” In his letter, he declares that he is in Birmingham because there is injustice. King’s appeal to pathos and his use of evidence combine to create an argument that achieves its purpose of providing that his nonviolence actions are just, and that the laws are unjust. Martin Luther King Jr. intends to create a feeling …show more content…

For instance, he brings facts in his letter to defend his protests in Birmingham. In paragraph 6, he admits that he already has gone all four step of a nonviolent movement including “collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action” (801). In fact, his results shows that Birmingham is the city with the most injustices against African-American in the United States. For instance, the city leaders never take the time to solve all the bombing cases and to bring justice to his people. Showing all the “brutal facts” of the city, Kings expresses that his actions are valid because African community is a victim of iniquities (801). To explain his purpose of what is a fair law and unfair law, Kings cites different prominent philosophers’ opinions including St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Buber, and Paul Tillich. For example, King agrees with St. Augustine’s quote, “an unjust law is no law at all” (804). Subsequently, he adds that according to the Roman Catholic priest, St. Thomas Aquinas, “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust” (804). Based on what Aquinas philosopher said, Kings declares that because racial segregation hurts people, it is unfair. Finally, King refers Paul Tillich, a German American theologian, to support his argument that segregation is not only

Open Document