Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr. 's Letter From Birmingham Jail

1794 Words Nov 17th, 2015 8 Pages
Martin Luther King Jr. 's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail", a rhetorical masterpiece, was written in response to eight clergymen’s statements condemning his nonviolent direct actions. He defends the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights nonviolent, direct action against individuals, institutions, and laws that look the other way while unjust racial prejudice against African Americans runs rampant in Birmingham. Using three main appeals, Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Dr. King communicates the struggle that was the essence of human rights, equality. Appealing to the logic, ethics, and emotions of the reader strengthens his rebuttal of the opposition, helps him gain support, and clearly justify the recent direct action he led. King uses logos to illustrate his argument and invalidate the opposition to his claim, leading the reader to side with his position. Exampling this, he demonstrates that direct action is not opposed to negotiation, contrary to what his fellow clergyman believe, and states “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue” (King par 9).
Martin Luther King Jr.’s extraordinary use of logos is apparent in his letter from the beginning. In the first paragraph, King states “If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day,…
Open Document