Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 2 (676 words) Published: November 23, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is a compelling letter that states his points of view and beliefs of segregation and racial injustice while persuading important clergymen of defending “direct action” against segregation for all African Americans. I will also discuss how Dr. King uses the use of ethos, pathos, and logos throughout the letter to make it more influential and persuading. Dr. King describes the status quo of the city of Birmingham and its beliefs and spirit of the community. The ethos encompasses little bits and pieces of segregation because the ethos Dr. King uses describes the community as a whole. He states” Since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “Outsiders coming in” and “ Never again can we afford to live with the narrow provincial’ outside agitation’ idea.” This tells the reader Dr. King tells how the community thought of black people as ‘outsiders’ even if the lived in the city. Dr. King use of ethos points out the flaws in the status quo of Birmingham. The use of pathos means considering the “emotional” appeal of someone. In this letter you can sense Dr. King’s many different emotions of sadness, love, anger, disappointment and the belief the all men are created equal without discrimination of race. Dr. King shows anger emotions when in the letter he gives examples of why his children don’t understand why white men abuse and treat colored people so inhumanely. He states towards the middle of the letter” At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist.” He indirectly points his disappointment at the clergymen who wrote the letter to him. A way he confronted opposition was how he used quotes from the church as well as notable figures. Dr. King often compared the actions he took to Biblical movements, even the crucifixion of Jesus. For most of the letter he talks about how there are just laws and unjust laws. Dr. King shows how...
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