Martin Luther King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was a verbal assault on the heinous injustices of segregation and in his letter he strategically attacked this primitive institution in stages. King justified his “direct action” approach with events and actions that had built to the present. Next, he dissected the philosophy behind his group’s displays of civil disobedience. King counteracted the term“extremist,” commandeering the word to suit his own needs. His letter was built on logical arguments, sound reasoning, and emotional appeal, supporting his cause effectively. The clergymen to whom MLK responded in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” had accused the reverend of taking “untimely” action when he began staging public demonstrations of civil disobedience in Birmingham, Alabama. They argued that in time, the African American population would gain social equality, that this was a steady process that need not be rushed. Dr. King knew better than to put all of his faith into this “inevitable” assumption, “...Time itself is neutral; it can be used either constructively or destructively.” King (4). He modeled for his correspondents the manner in which he had approached the issue, systematically recounting each step in a series of events that had led to his course of action. Through the process of public demonstration, King’s plan was to create an atmosphere of thick social tension that would force the city legislature and citizens of Birmingham to
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