Rhetorical Analysis Letter From Birmingham Jail

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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. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is addressed to clergymen who had written an open letter criticizing the actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. during several protests…show more content…
strengthens his credibility and that of the non-violent direct action protesters. He does this by describing the qualities of the people involved in the non-violent movements, namely the ability not to retaliate against violence. Second, the ethos of the movement is shown through justifying their need to act. “Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self-purification. We began a series of workshops on non-violence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?” In this example, King establishes credibility for himself and the direct action plan as a whole by stating that he and his associates partook in a series of workshops, he shows that they are willing and able to carry out the plan without the use of violence. Therefore, establishing validity in the rest of his argument. “Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give their unjust posture, but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.” King establishes his credibility by referencing Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr was American theologian and a professor at Union Theological Seminary. Since Reinhold was a religious individual, this reference shows the clergymen that Martin Luther King Jr. is also part of the religious community. It also backs up his main argument that people are not going to negotiate without the call for change established through direct
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