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Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay

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Rhetorical Analysis of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

In his essay "Letter from Birmingham Jail", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. disproves the assumptions of people that believe racism is acceptable when he compares the maltreatment of blacks to the inhumane treatment of the Jews by Hitler. King establishes a relationship with his audience by connecting on a level that is larger than the exploitation of African American's rights. He forces his readers to think about the execution of millions of Jews that was ordered by Hitler. He makes it logically apparent in his letter that just because segregation is a law, it does not mean that it is just. These strong words by King help establish a common ground between
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King compels his readers to make the connection between the two events by associating Hitler with the people that are segregating America. He also states how he would fight for any injustice by saying "Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish Brothers" (223). By making these strong statements he forces his audience to think logically about the treatment of African American's during the civil rights movement, regardless of which cause they supported.

Furthermore, King connects with his audience when he criticizes the unjust segregation laws. When accused of having a desire to break laws, King immediately disproves that theory by agreeing with their concern, and then discusses the difference between just and unjust laws. He quotes St. Thomas Aquinas faultlessly when he states his thoughts on law: "Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality" (222). He continues to say that a person has a "moral responsibility" (221) to refuse to comply with unjust laws, as well as having an obligation to obey just laws. His statement forces his readers to put themselves in his shoes and think of their moral responsibility to stand up against unjust laws regardless of
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