Martin Luther King 's Letter From Birmingham Jail

1509 WordsOct 21, 20177 Pages
Aristotle, a famous philosopher once said: “ It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of reason is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs” (Aristotle). He believed that rhetoric was more powerful than fists would ever be. Another man, a very influential social activist, shared the same ideals, preaching to his people to fight for their freedom with words and not their fists. Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of rhetoric during the civil rights movement to gain equality for the black community. MLK was a master of rhetoric and used his knowledge of proper arguments to sway the…show more content…
The Roman Empire fell in 476 C.E. after being conquered by Odoacer, a Germanic leader. Part of the reason the Roman Empire fell was their mistreatment of Christians, who, towards the end of the empire, made up a large portion of the Roman population. King reveals his supposition that the Jim Crow laws and the current racist society will fall away. This also brings into question whether he is trying to evoke guilt among the clergymen. When he compares the persecution of Christians to that of blacks, he is reminding the clergymen that their people were also discriminated against at one point in history, which exposes a hypocrisy where the persecuted become the persecutors. He demonstrates that he has a superior understanding of the values of Christianity and their history by exposing incongruencies within the church as well as their hypocrisy. Describing the devotion of Christians when they truly lived for god instead of for society, MLK demonstrates a complex interpretation of not only the past but current society. He marvels at a time when “Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed” and “the church was not merely” a vessel that “recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinions” but a catalyst that “transformed the mores of society” (King). King expresses disappointment that the church has become nothing more
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