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.
Dawn McNeil-Bruce English 2100 Professor Andrews- Parker 10/21/15 The Rhetorical Techniques in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” The unjust treatment of African Americans have cause a significant amount of African American leaders to use different ways to advocate for racial equality.
He was their voice. Throughout the “letter” Dr. King demonstrated pathos by engaging his readers of the struggle of being an African American descent. Dr. King starts off by letting his readers know that he was confined during the time of the letter was written and he was addressing the eight clergymen who called his action of a peaceful protest “untimely and unwise”. (King Jr., p. 645) However, he continues to explain his reason for being in Birmingham by saying that injustice was present and he could not just sit in another state and watch it;” Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
JoAnna Guzman AP English Period 4 Mrs. Solis 5 February 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. letter “ Letter from Birmingham Jail” was a response to eight Alabama clergymen of 1963. The clergymen had accused King of being an “outsider” and interfering with the racial issues of the community of Birmingham. When writing in response to the eight clergymen from Alabama Martin Luther King Jr. uses the rhetorical device of historical and biblical allusions.
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.
In the “letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he uses pathos, logos and rhetorical devices such as imagery, sarcasm and biblical allusions to show how his work of nonviolent protests are smart and how Birmingham has violated their civil rights. He expresses himself in his letter by explaining why he can not wait any longer because of the countless murders, the unsolved bombing, lynching, and violence towards the black community. MLK Jr. came across a statement which was a call for unity by eight Clergymen while being in the Birmingham city jail because of him not having a license to protest. In response to the eight Clergymen, Dr. king decided to write a historical letter letting them know that freedom was not an option because of the false promise and the continued violence. The letter is written to inform the people who are against, neutral and with segregation that it is time to take action and prove to the clergymen why he will stand up for what is right.
From 1955-1968, African Americans in the south and other parts of the country begin to start a movement, called the Civil Rights Movement. This movement was to ensure that every African American and other minorities in the United States gained equality. Martin Luther King, Jr a popular civil rights leader wrote a letter during his time in jail which addressed the clergymen who criticized his actions with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham. In the letter Dr.King addresses the wrongdoings that African Americans suffer from and how he plans on attaining equality. Letter from Birmingham City Jail is a very important document which depicts information from post-slavery times in America, and birthed the Civil Rights Movement in the southern region of the United States.
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 was a Baptist minister and social activist, and he was in charge of the American civil rights movement. He was fighting for human rights for African-Americans. His major claim in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”, is to spread justice in the country and how the nonviolent can resist racism, violence between people. One of the important sub claim that he mentions in his letter is “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘never’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that justice too long delayed is justice denied” ( King paragraph 11). This quote is important because if people in power still say “wait” for justice to be fix then, that will be ‘Never’ be fixed.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s essay, “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and Henry David Thoreau essay “Civil Disobedience,” both share their opinions on social injustice and civil disobedience. They both believe that people can protest unfair and unjust laws imposed on them in a civil way. In addition, King and Thoreau are challenging the government with their essays, which they wrote after they got sent to jail. For protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, King spent eleven days in jail; Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax. Both King and Thoreau’s essays present similar plans for a resolution.
King uses rhetoric in The Letter of Birmingham Jail to advance his purpose powerfully. King writes this letter as a response to the eight clergymen that indirectly target his actions and state false accusations. These eight clergymen do not understand the rationale King advocates throughout his non-violent protests, therefore King retaliates by writing a letter. This letter uses rational tone throughout to get these eight men and even more so the public to understand the purpose of his activist movements.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (King, Jr.). Martin Luther King Jr. exceeded this “measure of a man” during his civil rights acts as a strong soldier in a very volatile time. During this time of “challenge and controversy” King made himself heard in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In some of his civil rights acts that occurred in Birmingham, resulted in him ending up in jail. During his time in jail, he wrote his also famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”
Letter From Birmingham Jail: Ethos, Pathos, Logos. History in the past provided us with many former activists such as Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King Jr. As a well known activist, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the “Letter From Birmingham Jail”.