Essay on Martin Luther King Jr.

Essay on Martin Luther King Jr.

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Martin Luther King Jr.


From the Apostle Paul to Martin Buber: Martin Luther King's use of Historical and Religious Figures in his Letter From Birmingham Jail
In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is addressing his fellow clergymen in response to their accusations of his "unwise and untimely" activities. Like most other reformers, he finds his greatest rationalization and defense from the word of God. Considering the religious affiliation of his audience, King appeals to the clergymen by instituting examples from, and associates himself with historical and religious figures. Creatively, King is establishing a common ground between himself and the men of the cloth, which causes them to respect his actions and ideas more.
Within the first three paragraphs, King already associates himself with biblical history.
Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. (78)
King brings up two different subjects here: the prophets, and the Apostle Paul. However, both their intentions are the same: to spread the word of God. These two subjects become (in literary terms) Christ figures, and by relating his own course of action to theirs, King himself becomes one too. This is meant not only to defend his position, but also to appeal to the minds of his audience, in a much more deeply pious way. King automatically gains the respect and attention needed from his audience. Thus, their understanding a...


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... PHI 101 students studying the Phaedo, the Apology, the Euthephro, and other popular texts by Plato. It also includes a short biography on Plato and Socrates. The most useful thing for me here is the Apology and the small biography. This site is useful in backing up the claims I make about Socrates and his life. It defends every statement I make to help describe who Socrates was and what he stood for.

6) David L. Lewis. King: A Biography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978.
This book examines King's life from many angles. It is very informative on all aspects of his life, specifically scholastically. Chapter two in particular, discusses King as a philosopher, and his use of philosophical references. This book is useful in my argument of King's appealing to a broader audience through philosophy. It examines and helps to secure his validity and accuracy.

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