Letter From Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Martin Luther King Jr., born on January 15, 1929, fought for the injustices of his brothers and sisters throughout his life. While being an active activist, Martin Luther King was imprisoned to Birmingham jail due to his participation in a nonviolent demonstration against segregation and discrimination in Alabama. During his sentence, he wrote a letter, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” to counter the criticisms of his actions from the clergymen by claiming that “An unjust law is no law at all”(par. 12), “Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (par. 4), and “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’” (par. 11). Throughout the story, he uses many rhetorical devices, mainly allusions, to emphasize and develop his claims.
King stated in his letter that, “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’”(par. 11), so they must begin to take action in a lickety-split manner. This means that African Americans must demand their freedom now instead of waiting for it to be given voluntarily because ultimately, if they continue to wait, they will have to wait forever. This is evident because King stated, “It is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘"Wait’"(par.11). This means that the whites have never been “Humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’... Living constantly at tiptoe stance, knowing what to expect next, plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; Fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodyness’”(par. 11), meaning that the whites had never
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address the criticism of the white clergymen by claiming that the path to brotherhood is nonviolent direct action. He developed this statement by claiming that, “Unjust laws are now laws at all,” “‘Wait’ have almost means ‘no’” and, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.” Throughout the story, King uses many rhetorical devices to help develop and refine his

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