Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay

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Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hence, segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful.”… Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greatest speakers in all of history wrote these words in his letter from Birmingham Jail (King 48). His great use of rhetoric affected largely the freeing of an entire race. During his work in the Civil Rights Movement, he visited a small town called Birmingham in Alabama, and wrote one of his most rhetorically compelling letters there. In this letter, he used historical evidence, scriptural references, descriptive vocabulary, and great organization of points to respond to grievances raised against his movement: that he
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This was great rhetoric. King plays on Americans’ patriotism when he says, “We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.” He makes it seem that those who are segregationists are backward people. Another great argument he makes is by showing the brutality African Americans must undergo. He says, “But when you have seen vicious mob s lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters…then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” (King 47-48) King’s great arguments make it nearly impossible to ask African Americans to wait.

Everyone knows that it’s wrong to break laws. That’s why jails were invented. It seems doubly wrong to see a preacher break a law. This was a point raised against King. He argued back by saying that there are two different kinds of laws; “I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”(King 48)
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