Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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"Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was written in answer to eight white clergy men who denounced his actions regarding protest activities. In this letter, King Jr. defends both his right and his moral grounds for organizing nonviolent demonstrations against segregation and racism. He argued that breaking laws can be justified, especially when those laws are prejudiced. King Jr.’s sole purpose for this letter was to convince the clergymen that the uprising created by his followers and him in the demonstrations were an essential force needed for progressive action. Martin Luther King uses powerful and persuasive tones and often mentions how unethical and unjust the system is. He expresses and supports his differing …show more content…

In a simple manner, he effectively justifies his view on how he believes that protests for an extensive cause aren’t something to criticize and shouldn’t be received negatively. He then mentions many important figures throughout history in this quote, “Was not Jesus an extremist for Love…Was not Amos and Extremist of justice… was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel… and Abraham Lincoln…and Thomas Jefferson…The Question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be” (“A Letter from Birmingham Jail” 6). He then questions the Clergymen on their argument, stating that if the protests are the trouble in Birmingham, why was there already a social situation simmering? “Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which…not a single Negro is registered” (“Letter from Birmingham Jail” 4) In this comment, attacking Alabama highlights the truth of what is happening and what is being overlooked by many. King then continues to use logos in this argument and states that the reason he was imprisoned was due to that he didn’t have a permit, not the fact that it is completely lawful to have such an “ordinance…it becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest” (“Letter from Birmingham Jail” 4). By using the reference to the constitution of the United States, he shows just and unjust laws and ordinances, which proved strong for King’s fight. Using logos and quotes from the passages that the clergymen and others held respectable, aided him to push the equal rights movement even

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