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Essay on Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail


     Martin Luther King Jr. writes the Clergymen that have written him a letter disputing his actions in Birmingham. King is disturbed and offended by the Clergymen disagreeing with his purpose in Birmingham. King say he normally does not respond to criticism because it would waste to much precious time, but since these were men of good will he wanted to give his answers to their statements. In King's letter he appeals to many emotions as pathos, ethos, and logos to appeal to his audience.

     King starts his letter by saying ?While confined here in the Birmingham city jail.? This is important because King is making a strong point right away in his letter. He is saying they threw me in jail for what I believe and I am okay with that because I am standing up for what I believe in. He is also saying I am making a sacrifice for the cause of human rights and yet you are disputing my purpose for being here in Birmingham.
King does a great job bringing his audience to reality when he talks about how he has been labeled as an ?outsider coming in? by the Clergymen. King argues that he is part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference serving as their President. King states that they were asked by affiliates in Birmingham ?to be on call to engage in nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary . . . the hour came and we lived up to our promise . . . I was invited here, I am here because I have organization ties here.? King definitely feels that he had a genuine purpose to be there because of his organizational ties to the people of the community. Probably more so because of the responsibility to do something about the injustice committed in Birmingham. King had a strong belief that people should never be oppressed and the people of Birmingham have been oppressed for far to long. King felt that ?Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.? In this he was saying that if you allowed the unrighteous treatment of people to occur in one area that it will only spread to new areas and affect more and more people. If people see this unjust treatment being committed with out consequences over and over they will come to accept it as okay and something that is accepted. This would in turn be a great tragedy to all mankind.

King brings in to consideration a persons logical thought ...


... middle of paper ...


...hrist. King does this to appeal to his audience of Clergymen who the letter was intended to be written to. Although the majority of the letter has been written to a much broader audience King liked to over explain himself in many areas of this article for it just to be written to the Clergy. King seemed to have in the back of his mind at the time of writing this letter that it might someday be viewed by a much larger audience then just the Clergymen it was addressed to.

King closes his letter very strongly by treating the Clergymen as his friends and Christian brothers. He refers to the segregation and racism as ?dark clouds of racial prejudice . . . and . . . deep fog of misunderstanding.? King does not ever in his letter try to bad mouth or put down the Clergymen for disagreeing with him. Instead he tries to calmly yet strongly state his opinions, beliefs, and reasons for doing what he was doing in Birmingham. This is a very strong form of persuasion. The people you are conversing with are not made to feel like their beliefs or ideas are being threatened or offended. This forms a more open path for communication and does not creating an arguing match of insult after insult.


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