Rhetorical Techniques In 'Letter From Birmingham Jail'

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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. One very famous advocate was Martin Luther King Jr. On April 16, 1963, Dr. King had written a letter from Birmingham jail to eight clergymen towards racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. had used this letter to convince the clergymen of the racial injustice towards African Americans. In order to persuade his audience Dr. King had used rhetorical devices to appeal to them. Martin Luther King Jr. uses an urgent tone to his …show more content…

Martin Luther King wanted to spark emotion in both the African American and white audience. He wanted to spark the emotion in the African American for them to join the non-violence movement. Dr. King said, “but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth” to bring emotion in fellow African American to the growth of racial equality. He wanted to spark the emotion in the White community to lessening the aggressiveness by giving insight on the everyday life of the African American. In paragraph 10 he quotes, “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity”. With great emotion, Dr. King speaks on his daughter and son not being able to do thing the white children could do. He wrote, “when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her …show more content…

The strong voice of Dr. King is seen throughout the letter and his tone is used to display his feeling of desegregation. While using emotion to have a sympathy feeling in his audience and show them the life of an African American during that time. Even though emotion was used Martin Luther King still used logic to explain unjust laws and use example of history to connect with the discrimination going on towards African Americans. To add an extra rhetorical device he used repetition to convey the key points in his letter. From the end of this letter Martin Luther King leaves his audience with the ways to demonstrate ones point through rhetorical devices and his motivation towards racial

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