In the course of the letter, King uses philosophical, religious and historical examples to get his points across. In the third paragraph he compares his participation in Birmingham to that of the prophets of the eighth century and the Apostle Paul who also traveled to a foreign place to communicate their messages. Since King is also a man of the cloth (reverend) he is able to use these biblical characters in his letter to illustrate his knowledge of the bible and by justifying his actions on their terms he is also able to show his intelligent. In the next few paragraphs he talks about the demonstrations and the four steps in a nonviolent campaign which consist of collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-purification and direct action. He goes on to give the facts of the injustices occurring in Birmingham such as their record of brutality, Negro's unjust treatments in the courts and the unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches. He tells them that the Negro leaders had indeed tried to negotiate in good faith but the white leaders refused. In the next negotiations, promises were made so the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to postpone all demonstrations, but soon realized that they were lied to. In paragraph 10, King foresees the questions that are
Martin Luther King Jr. was a renowned civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to gain equal rights for all African-Americans. He was known throughout the world and his speeches continue to gain attention because of their quality. King was a gifted speaker and knew how to build a proper argument. He built up his credibility and targeted the logic and emotions of his audience. Without Martin Luther King Jr. the civil rights movement may not have seen as much success, and segregation may still have affected us today. By studying King’s work, people can learn much about rhetoric and argument. One of his most persuasive pieces was his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” This piece was written on just one of the occasions King was thrown in jail for protesting segregation and the Jim Crow Laws. It was written to eight clergymen who condemned his actions. However, King realized the letter was likely to get attention from more than just the clergymen, and he tailored the letter to include more than one audience. Paragraph 31 found on pages twelve and thirteen of the letter contains the most effective argument in regards to the eight clergymen. It provides emotional and logical arguments for justice and are fully credible because of the sourcing they use.
Throughout his letter Martin Luther King makes many ethical appeals by relating it to god. For example in the beginning of his letter Dr. king addresses his readers as “My Dear Fellow Clergymen,” this shows that he is letting the reader know his role as a religious leader. When someone thinks of someone with that role they automatically presume he or she is honest, trustworthy, and credible. He then compares his extremist attitude to those of Jesus Christ, Amos, and Paul. He uses is history within the church and says “I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and great grandson of preachers,” by Dr. King stating that it automatically gives him credibility it gives the reader knowledge of his postition. He uses his knowledge of important public figures and their ideals on justice, love and equality to support his claim. In his letter he writes “Jesus an extremist in love? -- "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you" Was not Amos an extremist for justice?..Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? -- "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist? -- "Here I stand; I can do no other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist? -- "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a mockery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist? -- "This nation cannot survive
Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on April 12, 1963, in Birmingham, for protesting without a permit. The same day that King was arrested, a letter was written and signed by eight clergymen from Birmingham and titled “A Call for Unity”. The letter called for ending demonstrations and civil activities and indicated King as an “outsider”. On April 16, 1963, King responded to their letter with his own call, which has come to be known as his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King justified the nonviolent measures that sent him to jail and explained why the segregation laws against blacks in the south must be changed (356-371). At the beginning of this letter, King gives
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.
On April 16, 1963, from a jail in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. composed an extensive letter to eight clergymen who condemned the timing of the civil rights movement. Although the letter was addressed to these eight clergymen, the Letter from Birmingham Jail speaks to a national audience, especially King’s “Christian and Jewish brothers”(King, 29). His peaceful but firm letter serves as a remarkably persuasive voice to an immensely chaotic mess, and is seen as a major turning point in the civil rights movement. King believes that without direct action, the full rights for African Americans could never be achieved. He defends the impatience of people in the civil rights movement, upholding that without forceful
Martin Luther King writes this letter as a response. He was arrested for his “unwise and untimely” actions. Since he was stuck in jail he decided to write a long letter. The purpose for this letter was to defend his nonviolent actions and to show how segregation was wrong.
uses the logical appeal in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” because in the letter he provides facts and evidence to support his appeal to his audience, who are eight white clergymen. In some points of the letter, King tries to educate his audience. For example, King says, “in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.” King also uses a logical appeal when he states “You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern.” When Martin Luther King Jr. uses these examples of logical appeals it shows his audience the logic reasons behind his peaceful protest for equality and segregation. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” King explains the difference between two laws; just and unjust laws. In the letter, King also using logic by saying “In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.” King also states that “There is nothing new about this type of kind of civil disobedience.” He mentions the early Christians, the act of the Boston Tea Party also the Hungarian freedom fighters questioning Adolph Hitler’s legal actions as examples of unjust and just laws. The reason
King combines the use of ethos and pathos as he compares himself and the rights of men to religious backgrounds. His first comparison is with the Apostle Paul, where Paul had “carried the gospel of Jesus Christ,” as to Kings carrying of “the gospel of freedom.” King addresses this similarity to show why he felt committed to go to Birmingham, because like Paul, he needed to respond as an aid to his people. Towards the end of Kings letter; he exemplifies courageousness in the Negro demonstrations by relating them to the actions of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they refused to follow what they believed to be unjust laws. Saying that if they are supposed heroes by going against unjust laws, why shouldn't the people see Negro demonstrators the same way? They are also God's children and by those disobedience’s, they were really showing the grace of God. These connections to religion supports their fighting against unjust laws as a divine cause.
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail on April 16, 1963. The letter was written in response to his “fellow clergymen,” stating that Dr. King’s present activities was “unwise and untimely.” The peaceful protest in Birmingham was perceived as being extreme. The letter from Birmingham Jail was a letter of grievance to the white clergy, and their lack of support in the civil rights movement. Dr. King explained in his letter the difference between what is just and what is unjust and his reasons being in jail at Birmingham. He believed clergymen are men of genuine good will and that they deserve a response, so Martin Luther king wrote a letter from Birmingham Jail.
Martin Luther King’s inspiration for writing his, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was mainly to appeal to an undeniable injustice that occurred during his time. His letter was in response tos eight white clergymen, who objected to King protesting in Birmingham. Dr. King effectively crafted his counterargument after analyzing the clergymen’s unjust proposals and then he was able to present his rebuttal. Dr. King effectively formed his counterargument by first directly addressing his audience, the clergymen and then using logos, pathos and egos to present his own perspective on his opponent’s statements.
In April 1963, the city of Birmingham, Alabama, was caught in the midst of massive civil rights protests. Protestors advocating for desegregation brought the city to a halt with widespread disruptive yet peaceful protests. After a circuit court placed an injunction against protesting, parading and picketing King was arrested for his involvement. While in jail King received a letter written by eight Alabama clergymen criticizing King for his disruptive protests and the breaking of laws which lead to his arrest. In response King wrote an open letter explaining his actions that would be known as “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. In his letter Dr. King effectively addresses an unsympathetic audience by focusing on building his credibility rather than seeking an emotional response.
Credibility and ethics are one of the first things noted in King’s letter, and the presentation of it helps the reader to carry on reading the letter with open-mindedness and trust that King will continue to sincerely explain the reasons for the letter and the protest. Also, he establishes his credibility in the second paragraph by responding to the clergymen’s view that he was an outsider coming in. Similarly, King institutes his credibility by revealing that he is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which was an organization working in every southern state. Martin Luther King Jr. also appeals to ethos by even stating the clergymen’s views throughout his letter, which, of course embodies the alternative to his views. People have respect and trust for King which is proof of his reliability, as one man writes, “I believe Luther's actions truly reflect his belief that all people should be equal. His actions also show his commitment to the movement and the fact that this man was a leader” (Akerman 1).
Every point that Dr. King had to make was related back to the Bible or the church. He drew symmetrical lines between his letter and St. Paul's writing. He was also able to draw parallels between him and Socrates as advocates of change and open dissent of public opinion and both of their connection to the Bible. "Just as the prophets of the eighth century my own home town". (King, 174) His open disagreement with unjust laws was also in accordance with the Bible. He mentioned that just laws were laws that went along with the natural moral laws. Anything that went against that natural law or morality was unjust. He pointed out that following an unjust law would go against one's own morality, and for whoever had any religious morality, they would not want to partake in an unjust law. Dr. King clearly identified that, not
was in jail, a “self-described racial moderates” group of Birmingham clergymen wrote a public letter in the newspaper that was critical of King and the Birmingham demonstrations. The letter urged a policy of moderation and gradual reform rather than the developing revolution. King wrote his "Letter" in response to the clergymen on April 16, 1963. The “Letter” has been favored as one of his most important arguments of civil disobedience. The disobedience practitioners he wrote of were the racists who broke the law, “flouting it with mean spirit and refusing to pay any penalty.” This contrasted with how Martin Luther King Jr. had broken the law himself, but was willing to pay the penalty which “evidences the highest respect for the