The Right Time for Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay

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As a leader in the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had to confront both the oppression of blacks in America as well as dissenters who objected to the timing and methods King advocated. Deeply involved in the civil rights movement, King rarely had time to respond to his critics. However, while confined to the Birmingham jail after being arrested during a civil rights demonstration, King had time to address several of these widely held criticisms that were the subject of a letter written by eight Birmingham clergymen and published in a local newspaper. In his Letter from Birmingham jail King’s eloquent and persuasive response to each of their arguments supported his belief that it was the right time for a full-scale civil rights movement. When we further explore the dynamics of the civil rights movement using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, it is obvious that although the general population may not have been prepared for sweeping social change, the time was right for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his role as Innovator to forge ahead in his pursuit of racial equality.
King’s role in the civil rights movement cannot be underestimated. Known as one of the most influential writers and orators of the 20th century, in his Letter from Birmingham jail King used his aptitude as a persuasive writer to address the criticisms posed by the clergymen. There are several persuasive devices in rhetoric that classify a speaker’s appeal to their audience: the use of…