Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Martin Luther King Jr., activist and leader, in his letter, Letter from Birmingham Jail, argued and emphasized why nonviolent direct action was not extreme when it came to dealing with racial tension in Alabama. His letter was a well written and well thought out response to the clergymen's statement, Call to Unity, a statement that claimed that nonviolent direct action was extreme. King’s purpose for writing his response was to persuade his audience, the clergymen/white moderates, that their thoughts on how he approached and handled racial tension were ill-judged. He successfully got his point across in his response by using rhetorical modes of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos using biblical comparisons, explanations about his cause, and personal stories.
The Letter from Birmingham Jail was written in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in April of 1963. Martin Luther King Jr. was sent to jail because he did not have a permit to peacefully protest the racial problems in the city. King wrote this letter to respond to the eight clergymen’s statement that he found in their city paper. Call to Unity claimed that King was an outsider to their city and that his demonstrations were “unwise and untimely” (Call to Unity, paragraph 3). In the beginning of his letter he responded to those claims by sharing information about his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He went on to discuss what occurred in Birmingham, Alabama that brought the SCLC to the city,

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