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. The criticism made by the these eight clergyman epitomize the idea of whiteness and white privilege. Rather than to offer assistance and guidance for King and his efforts to diminish racial injustices prevalent in the South, they, instead, offer criticism in an attempt to depreciate King’s fight for racial equity. This rhetoric has occurred often throughout American history, where we see white individuals devaluing and hindering the progress made by individuals of color. For example, one of the critiques that King received was that The Negro community should be more patient and wait for society to move gradually toward civil rights. What white individuals fail to understand is that there is no such thing
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement in 1954. He had a great impact on race relations in the U.S. and he made a great impact on many lives. He died in 1968. Dr. King wrote 2 famous works, “Dream” and “Birmingham” and each had a different audience and purpose. Both works utilizes the persuasive techniques of pathos in “Dream” and logos in “Birmingham.”
In paragraphs 33 to 44 of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s response to “A Call for Unity,” a declaration by eight clergymen, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963), he expresses that despite his love for the church, he is disappointed with its lack of action regarding the Civil Rights Movement. Through powerful, emotionally-loaded diction, syntax, and figurative language, King adopts a disheartened tone later shifts into a determined tone in order to express and reflect on his disappointment with the church’s inaction and his goals for the future. King begins this section by bluntly stating that he is “greatly disappointed” (33) with the church, though he “will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen” (33). By appealing to ethos and informing the audience of his history with the church, he indicates that he is not criticizing the church for his own sake, but for the good of the church.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the letter from jail, after he got arrested during a peaceful protest. At the time segregation was still a part of the culture in the United States and Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers were working diligently and peacefully to try and make a change in people’s hearts about segregation. In this letter MLK Jr. is writing to defend his strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism, which he does effectively by using rhetoric. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference focused on Birmingham, Alabama to start a nonviolent direct action campaign with the goal to get the city to get rid of segregation laws.
Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail addresses his fellow clergymen and others who critiqued him for his actions during this time. The clergymen along with others are addressed in an assertive tone allowing them to fully understand why his actions are justified. Throughout the letter critics are disproved through King’s effective use of diction and selection of detail. Martin Luther King opens the letter stating that the clergymen are being “influenced by the argument of ‘outsiders coming in” consequently he explains the reason for him being in Birmingham. In the opening of his explanation he states the injustices occurring, relating it to the prophets of eighth century B.C.
Have you ever read an article or book that express a lot of sympathy and it made you feel as if you can feel their pain. “The Letter From Birmingham Jail” displays the true meaning of pathos. After reading this” letter” emotions will overflow. Dr. King wrote with so much passion and courage, that it makes his readers feel as if they were part of the movement. He shows his concerns for the African American community by expressing their thoughts and feelings because they feel as if they have no voice.
In terms of legacies, Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of someone whose legacy has left an impact on a great many fields. The first to come to mind for most would be civil rights activism, as he was an instrumental figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. However, Martin Luther King Jr is an extremely influential figure in the field of oration and rhetoric. His Letter from Birmingham Jail is a work that he wrote while incarcerated in the Birmingham City Jail in response to criticism from Alabama clergymen. This letter is a prime example of King’s expertise in constructing persuasive rhetoric that appealed to the masses at large.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech he uses many different rhetorical devices. He uses rhetorical devices such as repetition, analogy, and rhetorical questions. In each writing, he uses the devices for many different purposes. These purposes can be similar, or different. In short, Martin Luther King Jr. includes rhetorical devices in his writing.
In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was sent to jail because of a peaceful protest, protesting treatments of blacks in Birmingham. Before the protest a court ordered that protests couldn’t be held in Birmingham. While being held in Birmingham, King wrote what came to be known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Not even King himself could predict how much of an impact this letter would have on the Civil Rights Movement. In the letter kind defended Kings beliefs on Nonviolent Protests, King also counters the accusations of him breaking laws by categorizing segregation laws into just and unjust laws. King uses this principle to help persuade others to join him in his acts of civil disobedience.
In “A Letter From A Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr defends his use of nonviolent protest in order to accomplish racial equality. In the letter, Dr. King uses ethos, diction, and allusions when defending nonviolent protest which makes his argument really strong. His goal is to make the clergymen help him fight racial equality. He uses ethos to build up credibility.
A Letter From Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King Jr. is a name that will never be forgotten, and that will go down in the books for all of time. He was foremost a civil rights activist throughout the 1950s and 1960s. during his lifetime, which lasted from January of 1929 to April of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and a social activist and was known for his non- violent protests. He believed that all people, no matter the color, have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take a direct action rather than waiting forever for justice to come through and finally be resolved. In the Spring of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stated in a speech that Birmingham was among one of the most segregated cities in the world.
Summary/Assessment: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which is an organization operating in every Southern state with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He came to Birmingham, Alabama because injustice lies there and helped protest about it in a nonviolent demonstration against racial discrimination. The eight clergymen of the South did not approve of these demonstrations happening which caused Dr. King to be confined in Birmingham Jail cell, writing a letter to them men explaining on why he was in Birmingham and what his reasons were for these protests. He begins to talk about and explain the four basic steps that needed to be followed for any nonviolent campaign. He also gives the audience a better understanding by giving a visual glimpse of what the black community had to endure.
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King defends the protestors’ thirst for justice by demonstrating the unjust society they live in. Over fifty years after the letter was written, it is still read today. Often times it gives people a sense of identity. However this letter gives me more than an identity. This letter gives me reason and motivation to always fight for a just society.
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.
Civil rights leader and social activist Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a world renown correspondence, Letter From Birmingham Jail, in April of 1963, during a time when segregation was at it’s peak in the South. When King was making his mark in American history, the United States was experiencing great social unrest due to the injustice towards their colored citizens, which would lead to social rights rallies and unnecessary violence. In response to King’s peaceful protesting, the white community viewed “[his] nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist,” and subsequently imprisoned the pastor (para 27). King specifically wrote to the white clergymen who had earlier addressed a letter to him as to why he was apprehended, in which they argued that his actions were untimely and unconstitutional. In response, King emphasized that justice is never timely, and the refusal to acknowledge equal rights was inhumane and regressive.
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.