In paragraphs 12-14 of “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, Dr. King begins addressing the clergymen’s belief that the peaceful demonstrations conducted by him and his associates were untimely. King starts answering questions frequently heard by opposing or moderate forces, as well as essentially denouncing the resistance to desegregation. King then introduced the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed; concluding that the oppressor is not inclined to act on things that do not directly affect them. Therefore, providing a platform of his argument as to why blacks could no longer wait to be given their basic human rights. Action needed to take place because fair treatment was no longer a hope to be given, it had to be taken.
African Americans have undergone unimaginable hardships in this land and were powerless to effect change in the system with their vote. I find this to be great injustice. Another example of injustice in this reading is King’s arrest. He writes, “I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance, which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and deny citizens their First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.” As King explains how a just law can become unjust through capricious or malicious application, I find myself confused by the situation. African American citizens are struggling for the equality America was founded on, and these people are being arrested for improper parading. After exhausting many other approaches, African Americans moved to peaceful protest and even that was stifled. I find myself asking where else were they to turn, how else could they effect change, and where is their justice? Would anyone have blamed Dr. King for being angry with his situation? I doubt it. King made a wise choice to remain optimistic, to address those who questioned his motives with reverence. In fact, he defines how he will respond to his critics in the opening paragraph of his letter: “I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.” This statement demonstrates King’s commitment to
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was a time in which African Americans were setting out to end segregation, specifically in the south. During this time period, African Americans were treated unequally from the white people. African Americans were unable to eat in the same restaurants, shop in the same stores, or even drink out of the same drinking fountain. Dr.
Time and time again, King had been told to just wait it out, that it wasn't the right time and when he finally did go through with his plans, his non-violent protest was confined and charged with parading without a permit. Martin Luther King talks about how he should be able to protest and talk about his cause as much as he likes because the only other way to reach out to people is through acts of violence. And violent measures would not be too much to ask considering how much Negroes had been harassed, treating differently by law enforcement and in reference to the article, even amusement parks and churches.
When he was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama he then fell under criticism by white clergy for coming to Birmingham as an “outsider” to cause trouble and increase tension through public sit-ins and marches. I feel that Martin Luther King was able to both set aside that criticism by establishing his credibility to have not only been invited to come to Birmingham to help end the injustice to the Negro people via peaceful means, but he was able to identify moral, legal and ethical cause to promote his quest to put a stop to what he identified as “the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States” (King, 2017, p, 3). I will provide a summary that will show what Martin Luther King believed were the cause of the injustice that he was striving to end to as well as his concern over the white community’s ability to make the Negro “wait for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights.”
In April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail that was addressed to the eight leaders of the white Church of the South, the “white moderates”. Dr. King’s letter talks about how unfair the white Americans were towards the black community, and how true civil rights could never be achieved.
In, “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, King writes about the criticisms placed on him by the Clergy and to all the white Americans who believe they are superior and do not wrong. For example when King writes, “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” (King 3), King is speaking to the clergy who dislike his motives and actions. King is stating his innocence and that he is doing nothing wrong and that action needs to be taken in order to initiate a change. The purpose of King’s letter is not all to inspire a change in America and just address the criticism towards him and his actions but it is also a call to action. King takes on the time of a courageous, righteous, and disciplined man who
King’s use of many rhetorical devices in these three paragraphs of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” solidify his conviction that segregation needs to be quelled immediately. Dr. King’s explanations justify the demonstrations and protests that he is participating in. Although this was a letter meant for clergymen, Dr. King simultaneously taught all of America a very important lesson: justice is a universal natural right, and when it is denied, it needs to be demanded. Racial equality is the form of justice in this case, as segregation was the culprit that divided society into two racial groups. Thus, Dr. King successfully advocated civil rights through this letter with powerful, clever
Dr. King's effort to make non-violent campaign and to end racial segregation led Negroes to protest together for equal rights. Appeal of emotions in letter the King use have shown anger and sadness from broken promise and injustice law. The King clearly stated that disease of segregation will never end after all suffer, “For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. 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 275).
The argument of the letter is that direct action must be taken in specific ways for changes to be brought about. King says that nonviolent action can only be achieved by following four specific steps. The first step he says is to determine if there really are injustices being made towards a certain group. He shows these injustices with examples of violent acts against Negroes including police attacks, bombing of homes and churches, and lynching by mobs. He says that Negroes have been victims of discrimination in their inability to receive the benefits that their white counterparts receive. More have also been in poverty due to prejudices against them. He sees a flourishing, affluent society in which blacks are not allowed to play a role in. King knows that the Negroes are not free and in order for freedom to be gained it must "be demanded" because it "is simply not given". The second step in the process of starting a nonviolent movement is the attempt to negotiate with your oppressors. King spoke with white merchants in Birmingham and asked that racial signs be removed from store windows. These merchants promised
Dr. King believes and advocates non-violent protest as the best way to get the message across to the authorities on the issues of segregation, unequal treatment of African-American people, from the white people in the country. His argument states the reason very clearly in his statement that "Non-violent 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 placates fellow civil rights leaders by explaining his actions, and why they were necessary for the overall good of the cause. King emphasizes the stubbornness of the local government, and their unwillingness to grant rights and liberties to African Americans despite the fact they are specifically enumerated in the Constitution. King writes, "We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights." He reasons that the non-violent way of protest was
¨Wait...Just wait¨; For years the only thing negros heard when segregation laws were brought up is to just wait. Martin Luther King Jr. was one who was constantly told to wait, that things were changing, that people were doing everything they could to make changes, and that they didn’t need him meddling in their business. In response to all of these claims King wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” In this letter King addresses many of the issues related to the pace at which segregation laws are changing and how he can no longer just sit by idly and watch. In the text King uses a number of different rhetorical strategies to get his points and ideas across. King uses pathos to appeal to his audiences emotion to get them to see things from the negro point of view, ethos that really build his credibility and get his audience to really listen to him, and logos to appeal to people's logic and compare what is happening with the progression of segregation laws in other countries compared to the United States. Although King is in the minority and has far less people on his side he deploys the use of all of these strategies so beautifully and with so much character that it is almost impossible to not side with him.
King brings up several emotions in his letter. King uses his children and how they ask him why the white men are so mean and why can’t they do what the other kids do, and how he would have to concoct an answer for his five year old son on why colored people are treated like trash. This is very sad on how a father has to explain to his kids why they can’t do anything and why they are called niggers instead of their first name, while the women aren’t even granted the respect of being called “Mrs.”. Imagine telling your child that they couldn’t do anything just because they were different. King also appeals to his beliefs in God, often quoting bible verses such as “I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus”(6) referring to how Jesus was whipped just like the black men were for standing up for his beliefs or his people.
Meanwhile, Dr. King also appeals to the logical side of the men within the letter, to lead them to the bigger picture of the injustice faced by African-Americans during this era. Dr. King uses facts and United States laws to prove that his actions were not untimely but in contrast these actions were overdue and that in fact he was not an outsider, but rather an invited guest.“So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here, I am here because I have organizational ties here. But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” (King) He goes on by saying “Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants --- for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a
The primary purpose of Dr. King’s eloquent and dramatically delivered speech is that of persuasion. King’s claim is the Negro people are still not free one hundred years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. This warrant is supported by King’s effective emotional appeal to his African American audience. He supports this with the following: "but one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” This is emotional because after one hundred years of oppression, the African American community has still not achieved their cultural and economic potential according to King. He is endeavoring to persuade his audience, fellow minorities and