Rhetorical Strategies In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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In a Birmingham, Alabama jail, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an open letter to a group of white southern clergymen during his incarceration in April 1963. A peaceful protest against segregation resulted in King's arrest. King recognized the clergy's concern about violence as a consequence of protests, even if the fear was only for their race. To address the clergy, King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," applies the rhetorical strategy of ethos as a fellow reverend and activist with an honorable reputation to achieve his purpose of ending segregation. In addition, King uses comparison and contrast to defend his methods against religious criticism. Similarly, the comparison and contrast approach will apply to an upcoming portfolio project about the Equal …show more content…

Having served as a minister, King deeply understood Christianity, which he used to address the white clergy in his open letter. King aimed to highlight the immorality of discrimination, especially to those in powerful or religious positions who could bring about change. Further, these individuals should be aware of the unjust and unchristian nature of allowing such bigotries. It did not matter to King whether others ignored or condoned the situation. Social change was necessary to eradicate racial injustices, and King’s mission was to convey that change. Rhetorical Strategy Throughout King's letter, he uses an ethos rhetorical style to refer to the ethical aspects of the situation. The concept of ethos refers to the author's credibility in the subject matter. King was confident that with his knowledge and reputation, he could deliver a persuasive argument to those in authority to end segregation. King emphasized that discrimination harmed many citizens, especially African Americans. In the absence of other options, King became more visible and vocal in his protests in a non-violent manner. (p.2). Strategy Applied in the

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