Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham

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On April 12, 1963 the Alabamian clergymen sent out a public letter discussing the violations that Martin Luther King Jr. was causing in Birmingham. Once King saw the letter , in jail after being imprisoned for peaceful marching in the civil rights movement, he responded explaining that the clergy weren’t doing anything to help out the African American racial injustices. Martin Luther King not only responded to the Alabamian clergymen’s criticism in his letter, he also addressed the local African American community in order to successfully convince them that they need to continue fighting for their equal rights.
Martin Luther King strategically uses biblical allusions, knowing that his immediate audience is the clergy, and the reference to
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To make the clergymen feel sympathetic he states, “... and see the tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told Funtown is closed to colored children… depressing clouds of inferiority form in her little mental sky…”(10). By Martin Luther King talking about children he knows that the use of children is a strategic thing to do in order to to achieve sympathy. He emphasizes on future generations to communicate that discrimination will follow throughout the years if they don’t try to change it now. This will push people to protest in the Civil Rights Movement because the African Americans know what it feels like to be discriminated against and they wouldn’t want their children to go through what they have their whole life. Although children aren’t the only ones that cause people to feel emotional but family members can also cause people to get sentimental. This is the reason why Martin Luther King says, “ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brothers and sisters at whim”(10). The African American community gets riled up and they are willing to fight for justice. He also says this to refute when the clergymen said that they knew their community, the clergy don’t know their community, though, because they haven’t been through what
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