Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr. 's Letter From A Birmingham Jail

873 Words Feb 24th, 2016 4 Pages
After criticism from eight Alabama clergymen for his nonviolent demonstrations, Martin Luther King Jr. was compelled to enlighten them on the current issues plaguing the African American community. During his confinement in a Birmingham jail, King wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to address most of the clergymen 's concerns about his protest. In his letter, King emphasized why his actions were not unwise or untimely and explained that now was the perfect moment to act. His studies and sermons, as a preacher and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, positioned him to utilize a great number of religious leaders ' philosophies to defend his peaceful demonstrations. King 's argument was not limited to emotional appeal but flooded with logical evidence to back up his statements. King 's masterpiece of a letter powerfully employed many rhetorical devices to heighten his argument for direct action.

The power of fear and abuse towards a minority group for centuries can create a deep bitterness towards the oppressors. In the 1960s, restaurants, bathrooms, water fountains, and other public facilities were bombarded with "nagging signs reading white and colored," and if a Negro dared to disobey the signs, " [he] would become plagued with inner fear" because not long after, "vicious mobs" would lynch or drown him and his family (King, par. 12). King intensely expressed how Negroes were not seen as equal to Whites. Negroes were seen merely as animals with…
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