Rhetorical Analysis "A Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gospel Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Nikolas Wahl
2 February 2014
Rhetorical Analysis MLK “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written in April 1963, during the African Americans fight for equality. Martin Luther King Jr.’s claim was not just to reply to the eight clergyman who had called his demonstrations “untimely and unwise”, but also aim his justifications at a bigger audience of religious and secular beliefs. An audience that is black and white; therefore King is able to justify his reasons and tactics of beginning immediate action using nonviolent protest to everyone. Throughout his letter Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrates the use of ethos, pathos, and logos to help support his claim while also consistently referring to well-known philosophers and religious figures words to help support his reasoning. King was very precise with how he used his rhetorical strategies that is why he is so successful in arguing his claim. Dr. King was set on demonstrating in Birmingham because the amount of injustice that took place over the last few years there. Between 1957-1962 seventeen African American churches and homes were bombed in Birmingham a city whose population is 40 percent African American. King refers to these events in his letter “There have been more unsolved bombings of negro homes and churches in Birmingham than any other city in the nation.” King creates ethos throughout his letter to help strengthen his claim. “Just as the prophets of the eighth century b.c. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond his home town” (King Jr. 212). King is explaining why he left his home town and came to Birmingham because there is injustice there and where ever there is injustice he...

Cited: James, Missy, and Alan Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument Custom Edition for Oklahoma City Community College. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.
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