Dr. King’s Argument Against Segregation

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The injustice of segregation laws is leading to a violent impact throughout the African American community, as they strive to have equal rights. In the essay, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. describes many struggles the African American community is going through. Dr. King effectively uses rhetorical appeals to persuade the clergymen that segregation laws are unjust and must end.

Dr. King exemplifies his credibility to advocate the ending of segregation laws. He gives an example of how society should realize that there is no need for violence by comparing both Socrates’ and his techniques. Dr. King uses Socrates’s philosophy to justify how much help the African American community needs to abolish the injustice of racism because the community itself cannot fight for freedom alone, the more individuals support them, the more likely the community can overcome segregation. Using psychological tension to help individuals rise from the myths, Dr. King uses an example of Socrates’ philosophy to help society become united. Dr. King states, “Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths” (497). Dr. King uses Socrates because he is a historical figure; individuals saw Socrates as a threat to society, but he later became an inspiration to others. In addition, the white community saw Dr. King as a threat to society because he wants to change the segregation laws, but he became a hero to all the communities. Dr. King uses the words “rise from the bondage of myths” to compare how Socrates helped individuals overcome certain myths, just as Dr. King is helping African Americans prevail over the injustice of segregation. T...

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...d must end. Likewise, he uses ethos by using Socrates’ philosophy to justify the unjust of racism. Also, he uses pathos to convey guilt, so the clergymen can understand exactly what the African American community is going through. Using logos to justify his argument, Dr.King uses inductive reasoning through the word “wait” to show the African Americans have been waiting for many years. The purpose of Dr. King‘s letter is to persuade the clergymen that segregation laws are unjust. As a result, the impact of the African Americans waiting for over three centuries for justice is causing them to be impatient and create tension throughout the society.

Works Cited

King, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham.” The Arlington Clergymen Contexts and


Ed. Lynn Z. Bloom and Louise Z. Smith. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2011. 494-507. Print.
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