With the help of these four steps, he justifies the need for the demonstration. King illustrates the city of Birmingham as “the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States,” (King 2). Here King is able to show that injustices are present in Birmingham, which further justifies his reason for a peaceful demonstration. King proceeds to speak about his method of protesting. He states that negotiation was not met, and that “[their] hopes had been blasted,” that like “victims of a broken promise,” their wishes had been disregarded, (King 2).
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.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong leader in the Civil Rights movement, the son and grandson of a minister, and one heck of a letter writer. As he sits in a cell of Birmingham Jail in 1963, he responds to criticism from eight white clergymen. Though this letter was intended for the judgemental and condescending men of high faith, his response touched the hearts and minds of the entire U.S. population, then, and for years to come. In his tear-jerking, mind-opening letter, King manages to completely discredit every claim made by the clergymen while keeping a polite and formal tone. Metaphors, allusions, and rhetorical questions are used in the most skillful way to support his argument and ultimately convince his audience of the credibility behind his emotional, yet factual, claims.
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.
Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” addresses criticism from clergymen. King expresses his belief that his actions during the Human Right Movement were not “untimely,” and that he is not an “outsider. ”(1) King’s purpose is to inform them of his reason for being there and why he believes that although there may never be a proper time to change society, he is tired of it happening to his people. He adopts an optimistic tone in hopes that he can convince the people of Birmingham to give everyone their Human Rights that they deserve.
He urged the church leaders to stand up for what they know is right, and fight for the good alongside Dr. King. Rather the clergymen decided to silence their voices hiding in the shadows of reality. In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr. is able to plant seeds of justice in the minds who followed the unjust law. He meticulously developed his letter in which he was able to connect to a broad and diverse audience through rhetorical appeals logos, pathos, and
King uses many forms of rhetorical devices in his letter in order to effectively make impacts on his audience. In his counterargument against the praises towards the Birmingham police force, King brings new lights of the police force to the public eye. He uses parallelism to target his audience and change the public opinion on the police force “I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes ... if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together”(King 561-570). King counter the praises that states the police kept “order” for the public and prevented any violence to take place,
King then uses the appeal of pathos by explaining that he was in Birmingham not only because he has “organizational ties,” but more basically, he is “in Birmingham because injustice is here.” This portrays a strong message to the clergymen that he has the credibility on the matter of injustice. Moreover, the use of logos should be observed when King writes that “it is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative” (Rottenberg 813). The phrasing of this statement indicates that King was sympathetic towards the “Negro community,” and that he believes that the “white power structure” was at fault. Henceforth, King uses a type of language that points out the hypocrisy of the Anglo society by challenging the biblical and cultural values that the men claimed to believe
The most noticeable form of persuasion Dr.King uses is Logos. In the beginning of the letter Dr.King gives his reasoning for being in Birmingham to protest and why he is in jail. He states: “Just as the eight–century prophets left their little villages and carried their ‘thus saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Greco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of the freedom beyond my particular hometown.” (14-17) Stated by Dr.King. He is trying to say that his goal isn't to cause chaos rather to spread the idea of freedom.
Letters From Birmingham City Jail On April 16th, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr, a strong hearted pastor wrote in his letter entitled Letters From Birmingham City Jail discussed how protests are allowed and no illegal to anyone. He supports his claims by first questioning on why blacks deserve this struggle of equality and said freedom is a god given right. Another claim he stated was protesting normal disobedience will eventually change the world to the better and to make everyone equal. Finally, King claims he hopes that change and equality will eventually bring everyone together and unite the world for the U.S. Through King’s usage of tone, rhetorical appeals, and rhetorical tools he effectually persuades the Clergymen of U.S. to consider
For dozens of years, black people were treated like animals, even decades after they were “freed” from the shackles of slavery. It wasn’t until the mid-1950’s that one man took it into his own hands to make a change, and his name was Martin Luther King, Jr., a name with which virtually the entirety of America is familiar. King did a lot of monumental things, and almost all of his influence lay within his mastery of word manipulation and rhetoric. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of his use of rhetoric happens to be in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”, written to a group of white clergymen in 1963 after they criticized his campaign.
In 1963, eight Alabama clergymen issued a seemingly hypocritical public statement accusing outsiders of leading extreme demonstrations of protest in Birmingham, Alabama, and urging local citizens to allow racial issues to be resolved by the courts. In response, civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr., wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which outlined the reasoning and timing of the demonstrative actions. While King’s letter exhibits an effective use of all three Aristotelian rhetorical appeals, the following analysis focuses primarily on his use of logos. His inclusion of analogies along with descriptive diction assists in emphasizing his reasoning in an attempt to logically convince his readers that waiting for the courts to settle racial injustices had proved inefficient.
In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., he writes to defend himselfagainst the clergymen’s accusations in which he explains his motive on his civil rightsdemonstrations and strives to justify the desperate needs for nonviolent action in the CivilRights Movement. His primary audience throughout the letter was to the religious leaders as hewas responding to an open letter for criticism, whereas the secondary audiences are whitemoderates and the religious population. Dr King’s letter addresses that the white attitudestowards African Americans and the Civil Rights Movements in the 1960s were hostile as theywere unable to accept the movement, especially in the South. Throughout the letter, he usesvarious literary and rhetorical
Blakely Williams October 13, 2017 Composition I Prof Yarborough “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Rhetorical Analysis In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he provides his audience with his motive, to unite the then new age civil rights movement with non-violence, through multiple allusions to past philosophers, vivid imagery, and the three artistic appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos. King did all of this to justify his civil disobedience to the clergymen that wrote him in hopes to make it be known that “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”
In his letter Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. sought to elaborate on the criticism that eight fellow clergymen had about his work and ideas. The letter was written when King was imprisoned in a Birmingham city jail cell for parading without permit. King was a prominent leader of the African-American civil rights movement, “Nobel Peace Prize” recipient(Fairclough, 1995, p.1), and served as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A close analysis of King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail revealed that clarifying the criticism of African-American civil rights movement was not the only purpose of King.