Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail
My group chose to use the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr as our rhetorical situation because it was an essential document for progress of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Dr. King wrote the letter in response to the eight, white clergymen who publicly called his actions to improve the lives of African-Americans in Birmingham, Alabama “unwise and untimely” (King, 2000, pge.263). Considering that Dr. King was dealing with an ambiguous audience, white moderates who were somewhat against segregation, but favored order rather than justice. Dr. King’s ultimate goal was to persuade the clergymen to actively support the civil rights movements, which in turn would open the …show more content…

The attack and the death of the little girls prompted Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to march in Birmingham to protest the treatments of African-Americans in the south. Dr. King was arrested and put in jail during the protest because he did not have the approval of the Supreme Court to march. While he was in jail, eight clergymen publicly called his actions “unwise and untimely” because they saw Dr. King as an outsider because he was not from Birmingham, and they thought Dr. King was too impatient. The attitude of the clergymen towards Dr. King and the situation in Birmingham triggered Dr. King’s letter, the rhetorical situation. Dr. King responded by saying that he was there because injustice was there, and that his people had “waited 300 years for justice, they could no longer wait” (King, 2000, pge.264). Martin Luther King’s response was very important because it showed the public that 300 years had already passed, and still all men were not equal. His response showed that it was the right, opportune moment to make a change. The letter helped Dr. King show to the public what exactly went on in the south because it was one of his material

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