Letter from Birmingham Jail Essays

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Letter from Birmingham Jail Essays

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    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.

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    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.

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    Reminiscent of St. Paul's writings, the Letter has been described by Stephen Oates as "a classic in protest literature, the most elegant and learned expression of the goals and philosophy of the nonviolent movement ever written." Wesley T. Mott also commends King for harnessing "the profound emotional power of the old Negro sermon for purposes of social

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    Shortly afterwards he was both criticized and applauded for his actions in the protest. During this time, King decided to write a letter to address those who questioned his actions. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King effectively used the rhetorical strategy of describing to achieve his purpose of defending his reason for protesting, a model that can be applied to the upcoming portfolio project. Rhetorical Strategy In his letter, King uses several rhetorical strategies, however one that stood out to me if the strategy of describing.

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    In his letter to the Alabama clergymen, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he disagrees and oppose their allegations made on Kings way of protest in dealing with the racial problems in Alabama. King, being a minister, makes numerous religious arguments and speaks upon the treatment African-Americans undergo daily. Thoreau and Dr. King,

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    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.

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    We all know Martin Luther King Jr. ,right? We know him as the man who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech. Which was a step in the civil rights movement to fight for African American rights. Well, besides that monumental speech, he also wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail”.

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    The Civil Rights era was a time of great turmoil and injustice for African Americans, however, Martin Luther King brought forth a tremendous amount of change through his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and his “I Have a Dream Speech”. Both documents demanded that the unjust treatment of African Americans had to change, as well heavily urged African Americans to remain peaceful and not resort to violence. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was an excellent example for demanding change since the primary message of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was calling forth white moderates along with the church to no longer sit on the sidelines and allow the injustices on African Americans to continue any further. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” focused on discussing the morality of the unjust laws created, and differentiates between man-made law and moral law. This was specifically done to show white moderates that civil disobedience was not entirely a negative thing.

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    While imprisoned, King wrote a letter intended for his fellow clergymen. In this letter, he addressed several criticisms that were being made about him and his movement. He used this to structure his letter in a coherent manner, all the while using several rhetorical

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    During the 19th and 20th centuries there were numerous discussions and reflections about the social status of African-Americans, especially concerning their rights, and equality in comparison to the White Americans. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a letter written by Martin Luther King Jr in 1963, when African Americans were fighting for equality with the White Americans. King wrote this eloquent and profound letter while incarcerated in a prison in the city of Birmingham. In that letter, responding to criticism of his fellow members of the clergy, Dr. King explains to the world the purpose of its activities and choices. Indeed his colleagues were not adhering to its activities.

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    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.

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    Both of the pieces writing had logos which is a logical appeal and pathos which is emotional appeal.   In this essay I will compare the two pieces of writing that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote and how he used logos and pathos in both pieces.     When Martin Luther King Jr. did his I Have a Dream Speech he used two persuasive appeals, one was logical appeal and the other was an emotional appeal.

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    Martin Luther King uses allusion in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to add greater meaning to the cause he is defending. Dr. King includes many biblical references in his writing to compare the similarities between actions in the bible and his. For instance, Martin Luther King says “like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.” Since Martin Luther King King is writing his letter to clergymen, his religious allusions are used to appeal to them; specifically, Dr. King brings up the point that certain tension is caused by people who have been subjected to grievances and believe “...that the white man is an incurable ‘devil.’” In saying this, Martin Luther King tells the clergymen that their sanctimonious acts and racial

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    The common similarity you find between the two writings by Martin Luther King Jr. is the fact that each one says facts about King Jr. wanting to end racism in the south and to stop it from erupting in the north. On the other hand, a lot of differences you see, is that King Jr. told his “I Have A Dream” speech to the public, and his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” speech was written in the creases and folds and nooks and crannies of old newspapers, (because he didn 't have proper writing paper) and sent to the eight prominent clergymen outside his jail cell. Another common similarity is that both of his writings impacted the U.S. both in the north and in the south. The “Letter From Birmingham Jail” letter impacted the city of Birmingham, and his “I Have A Dream” speech, it impacted the entire country of USA. His speech ended segregation, but he was then shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, in the Lorraine Motel.

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    Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letters from the Birmingham City Jail” to clergymen, from a confined cell. This letter has many points concerning what is happening with the segregation of blacks and whites. The King has a purpose of writing this because of his use of ethos, pathos, and logos, along with the way he justifies himself, and lastly his motivation to more past this dilemma. The use of Ethos is very much used in this letter, which makes him have credibility is the incident of injustice.

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    In 1963, while Martin Luther King was in Birmingham Jail, King delivered a powerful letter to his Clergymen in order to take time and respond to the criticism he had received over his work in Birmingham. The Letter from Birmingham Jail addresses many problems, including the slow action occuring to stop racial discrimination. In order to do this, Martin Luther King uses several techniques in paragraph thirteen and fourteen of his letter such as repetition, personification, as well as allusion, to support his claim that racial unity has taken too long. To emphasize the passing of time and the need to take action now, King uses repetition and allusions in paragraph thirteen to assist his claims. King starts strongly with the bold statement “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed”, which in this case, the oppressors refer to the whites, and the oppressed are the negroes.

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    Civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr, in his Letter from Birmingham City Jail, argues against criticism from eight Alabama clergymen, and addresses their concerns. He defends his position, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), against accusations of disturbing the peace in Birmingham, as well as explaining his values and opinions. Throughout the letter, King adopts a strong logical and credible tone, and reinforces his position through the use of strong emotional justifications, in order to appeal to the clergymen and defend his public image. Martin Luther King opens up his Letter from Birmingham City Jail by appealing to the clergymen's emotions, and assuring his peaceful response, which he describes in "patient and

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    Dr. King makes his audience feel as if they should be doing more as they are intended to do. He uses the word “president” which shows his position which helps him be looked up to. Clergymen fall their pastors and in a certain way Dr.King is acting as a pastor and preaching to them that they should go out and help as he (Dr. King) is. Diction is very important as it makes the audience connect in the way the author intends them to do

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    Rhetorical Analysis: Letter from Birmingham City Jail “I think I should give my reason for being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of outsider’s coming in (King,1963).” Dr. King was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he was one of the most visible spokesperson. Dr. King wrote “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” for the purpose of explaining why he was in a Birmingham, Alabama, jail and also talking about segregation and how hard it was on people. Dr. King’s letter shows how hard he was fighting for freedom, and how horrendous segregation was.

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    It is in the form of an open letter, which means that its purpose was to be seen by the public and its readers were able to make their own judgments on the issues at hand. It was written as a response to the letter of eight clergymen who expressed their dissatisfaction of King’s protests in Birmingham. The main thesis of the Birmingham letter is that black people would no longer stand idly and watch as the white community denies them their rights given by God.

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