September 21, 2013
Letter from Birmingham Jail
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 16, 1963. It is a passionate letter that addresses and responds to the issue and criticism that a group of white clergymen had thrown at him and his pro-black American organization. They criticized King about him and his organization’s non-violent demonstrative actions against racial prejudice and injustice among black Americans in Birmingham. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written as a response to the clergymen that opposed the way in which King was protesting. Martin Luther King’s letter actually addresses two audiences simultaneously: the limited and defined group of clergymen and a broader and less defined group of intelligent and religious white moderates. In the letter, King seeks to prove that he is a patient, peaceful, and just a leader of a rational movement, thus refuting his clergymen attackers claims he is an untimely, radical lawbreaker. He addresses these claims through his effective use of pathos, logos, and egos. What King said in his letter had to make a person think that not all laws are good for the group in society and morality is a justifiable excuse in breaking the law. In this paper, I will talk about Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” I will explain the details of the letter along with why he wrote the letter, and to whom he wrote the letter. King writes his letter to defend his organization’s actions and the letter is also an appeal to the people, both the white and black American society, the social, political, and religious community. King uses references to saints, philosophers of the past, and theologians to get into the minds of the clergymen to whom he is writing the letter. In the beginning of the letter, King protested the segregation that the clergymen took part in to create an impacting crisis and increase the ever longing tension between...
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