Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good Essays
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Reading Response
Martin Luther King, Jr. a civil rights activist that fought for the rights of African Americans in 1963. King organized various non-violent demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama that resulted in his arrest. While in jail, King received a letter from eight Alabama clergyman explaining their concern and opposition to King and his non-violent actions. This letter occasioned his reply and caused King to write a persuasive letter "Letter from Birmingham Jail," justifying his actions and presence in Birmingham. Although King’s reply was addressed to the Alabama clergyman, its target audience was the white people. King understood that if he gained support from the white American, the civil rights movement would reach its goals much faster. In his letter King effectively manipulates language and tone to strengthen his argument against the complaints of the clergyman and successfully address the white people. Throughout the essay, King uses several powerful tones to complement his strong opinion

Martin Luther King's opening paragraph demonstrates irony and sarcasm. It is sarcastic because he is writing in a jail cell, which is not recommendable especially if you want to represent a group of people. In the other hand, he is trying to answer to some clergymen who clearly aren't agreed with King's ideas. Another funny, sarcastic part says, "If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day.” Shown by this passage, one can see the sarcasm Martin Luther King Jr. adds in the letter. He does not have secretaries helping him with his correspondence at the moment and all he can do is answer. He states that he will try to answer as best possible because he feels they are generally men of good will (657).
In the letter from Birmingham jail King also uses an urgent but non-aggressive tone. It benefits King to

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    [Date] Martin Luther king Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Outline 1. Introduction i) Argument about “Justice and injustice” ii) Religious appeals in King’s latter iii) Paragraph fourteen of King’s latter 2. Discussion 3. Conclusion Introduction The pressure of racial segregation was reaching a boiling point in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. After being arrested for his part in the Birmingham Campaign, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an open letter in response…

    • 2996 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Martin Luther King, Jr is a great black man who accomplished many things for the Negros. Martin Luther King, Jr is a pastor and head leader of the Christian church. At his time there was many racism going on against the Negros. Blacks would suffer from violence and discrimination from the whites. Colored people did not have the same rights as the American whites. For years, the discrimination and racism was going on. But a firm believer of freedom, Pastor Jr was determined to fight for equal rights…

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist who stood strong in advocating justice and equality. King believed in nonviolent civil disobedience and wanted to bring an end to the constant racial segregation faced by the blacks in Birmingham, Alabama. In April 1963, while protesting for struggled equality of the blacks in Birmingham, King and the other protestors were arrested and jailed. While serving his jail term, King wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” as a retort to the moderate, white…

    • 827 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Martin Luther King 's use of figurative language in "Letter from Birmingham Jail"� is an effective way for him to reinforce his thesis about non-violent protest and race discrimination. The figurative language in the letter enhances the letters persuasive qualities of pathos, ethos, and logos to evoke emotion and sway readers toward King 's point of view. King is the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was formed in 1957. He was arrested for protests of a non-violent…

    • 1213 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the excerpt of ¨Letter from Birmingham Jail¨ Martin Luther King Jr uses many rhetorical devices that help make his letter emphasis more on the problem that many African-Americans were facing before and during the civil rights movements. In the the letter King uses techniques like repetition to bring more focus and meanings to his ideas, allusion to relate to an event that explains King's motivation, and pathos to bring the reader to feel what he feels through what he has written. An example of…

    • 290 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    is still far from perfect when it comes to resolving racial issues. And even as remarkable black scholars and activists have been trying to reach out to Caucasian communities to make a difference, the message has yet to fully be comprehended 150+ years after the abolition of slavery and 50+ years following the…

    • 747 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential and significant civil rights movement figure, delivered a strong message defending African American’s necessity of demanding civil rights and arguing reformation of unjust laws. Since the very beginning of slavery in U.S., African Americans have not been able to escape from practices of dehumanization. When hope had finally shone along with the abolishment of slavery, a shadow followed as this minority community…

    • 1464 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “Letter to Birmingham Jail”, argues that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. King’s purpose is to explain how a just law should be followed, and how unjust laws, such as segregation, should not. He supports this claim by appealing to logos, ethos, and pathos. King begins his letter by responding to his critics that his non-observance of laws is based on the fact of whether they are just or not, by appealing to logos. When King states, “One…

    • 755 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    freedoms as exposed in Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter From Birmingham Jail. Even though our Founding Fathers established these rights to all of the people in 1787 and slavery had been abolished in 1865, a negro’s life did not fall under this covenant of freedom. Hostility and intolerance plagued these times, and someone needed to put an end to the oppression. Too much scarlet red had oozed out of the lives of innocent negro men, women, and children. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of those individuals…

    • 922 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Martin Luther King Jr Tybee Island Essay By Jaleel Carter October 11,2017 “Martin Luther King Jr is the best man alive He the only person who stood up for his rights. The Letter from Birmingham Jail, also known as the Letter from Birmingham City Jail and The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open…

    • 510 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays