Letter from Birmingham Jail

Topics: Letter from Birmingham Jail, Nonviolence, Civil disobedience Pages: 3 (853 words) Published: December 14, 2006
Martin Luther King's Rhetorical Modes in:
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King wrote a letter while in Birmingham Jail, this was received on April 16, 1963. Months earlier King was involved in a nonviolent direct-action against segregation, King was called upon by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. This nonviolent action was mostly demonstrated through sit-ins and marches along the streets where Negroes showed their aggravation and irritation towards all of the segregation that was present in the United States at this time. During this action over a thousand Negroes were arrested including Martin Luther King, being one of the many motivational speakers that were arrested. The Commissioner of Public Safety of Birmingham, Alabama Eugene "Bull" Connor was the main reason for the arrest. Eugene Connor was a segregationist who was completely all right with putting the protestors in jail. He even was forced to send other protestors to other jails throughout Alabama. Three rhetorical modes were used through King's letter which all help express him during his time at Birmingham Jail.

One of the three rhetorical modes that King used in Letter from Birmingham Jail is "definition". While using definition King discussing just and unjust laws in the judicial system then. A just law from King's words is, "a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God". King talks about an unjust law by saying, "a code that is out of harmony with the moral law". These definitions are used by King and how he discusses why segregation is so wrong and unnecessary. "…segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and awful." King says this discussing how he disagrees with segregation. Throughout King's letter he defines some of the words use to help the reader with his point of view.

During the third paragraph, Martin Luther King used the rhetorical mode of narration which gives...
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