King's Letter from Birmingham

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, Civil disobedience Pages: 2 (604 words) Published: December 11, 2013
King’s Letter from Birmingham
While in Jail for peaceful protesting for civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, Letter from Birmingham Jail. He wrote it to a group of clergymen who did not support his civil rights movement in order to try and gain their support. King adopts a tone of controlled anger in order to create a logical yet emotional argument.

When talking about the suffering of his people, Kings tone holds restrained anger. King displays that; “it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers… you can understand our… impatience”. The use of controlled anger in this passage communicates an emotional situation. Involving these horrific events in his letter makes it obvious that there is severe injustice in racism. The words “stinging darts” as well as “vicious mobs” work in order to display Kings anger at these injustices. Emotion and logic are evident when King says, “[I] see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people”. The words “distort” and “bitterness” extort the frustration and agony felt by King that is featured in this passage. Incorporating the negative affects on the children using such heavily negative diction is another way an emotional attachment and sense of right and wrong are formed. By restraining his anger he is able to keep the clergymen engaged while clearly displaying his point.

Many Christians in the past have been harshly punished for the act of practicing civil disobedience. King says that civil disobedience “was practiced superbly by Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions”; instead of submitting to unjust Roman laws. By saying this King exploits the hypocrisy in the clergymen’s refusal of supporting him. Kings logical argument in this passage is emphasized by the fact that what he is doing is no different than what they did. King mentions that,...
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