Letter from Birmingham Jail Analysis

Topics: Civil disobedience, Nonviolence, Letter from Birmingham Jail Pages: 3 (938 words) Published: February 17, 2011
“Letter From Birmingham Jail”

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” after an unjust proposal made by eight white clergymen. Their claims were to be that no Negro “outsider” should be allowed to establish or lead any protest and should leave them to their local neighborhoods. King replied directly to the clergymen, but used religious ties to also have his voice heard in the public. In his counter argument, King strategically used logical evidence, emotional aspects and good motives to present his perspective to the clergymen.

In the beginning paragraphs, King states the main goals of his letter. He then goes on to set up the main points of his argument by stating, “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” This not only presents an error in the clergymen argument, but it also ties into Kings belief that such demonstrations were necessary to get the point across of injustice taking place in Birmingham. Next, King mentions the intensity of segregation in Birmingham than that of other cities, strengthening his argument of why the blacks feel the need to speak out. Kings logical statements appeal to the readers thoughts, giving them a new outlook on their own reasoning’s.

Another logical aspect of Kings letter is when he expresses his efforts of negotiations with Birmingham merchants. The negotiations were to be that signs showing racism would be taken down and civil rights protest would be stopped. After awhile the promises of racist signs being removed did not follow through, resulting in Kings direct action. This example used by King, shows that the direct action was not originally the idea for trying to work out discrimination in Birmingham, but rather inevitable. To emphasize his argument, King stated, “You may ask: 'Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn't...
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