Analyzing Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known to be a well-educated and determined man. The Civil Rights movement has called on people like Dr. King to raise awareness of injustice and mistreatment of black people. Many of his speeches or writings were sure to be powerful and articulate. ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’ written by Dr. King, is a particularly powerful and well-written letter that contains excellent examples of rhetorical appeals. While imprisoned in Birmingham prison for protesting the unequal treatment of blacks in Birmingham, King wrote a letter to criticizing the eight clergies and to encouraging everyone to stand up and join the Civil Rights movement. King credits his writing by establishing his ethos and building connections with readers by pathos.

To summarize, King came across an article in a local newspaper titled “Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen,” also known for the white moderate, who referred sat and waited rather than to handle the public’s tension and fight for justice. Because racism was still evident and ungoverned in Birmingham, King and his organization have called for peaceful protesting. The eight white clergymen claimed to value local unity and patience described King as an extremist, an outsider, “unwise and untimely” (p1, para1) after his protest. ‘Letter From Birmingham Jai’ was written in response to the accusations of the eight clergymen.

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According to King, the white moderate was considered one of the most powerful allies in the Civil Rights movement (p5, para3). With their support, the movement could have been easier, but not. Because of the silence of white moderates, who won’t speak up when faced with extreme racism exacerbates the problems. He had criticized them have become comfortable with their lives and don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ or make too much noise. ‘I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice’ (p3, para 8).

Amidst a plethora of valuable historical writings, King’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jai’ is especially prominent. Aside from the letter’s inspiring content, King’s letter is incredibly organized and captures many angles of which a person can write. The introduction uses certain pronouns (I, we) to establish a connection to the audience. A strong ethos in the introduction credits the writing in the body paragraphs by proving that King is worthy of his audience’s trust and attention. King then gives his thesis later towards the conclusion and concludes with relating the issues to the audience by connecting them to something bigger. Being connected to something bigger connects the audience to the thesis because it reminds the audience that what affects some, affects all. By relating issues to the audience, King is hoping to encourage them to act upon the issues, so they can work together to acquire equal rights. During the civil rights movement, if I was a part of the white church, a white moderate, or an apathetic black person, King’s letter would be motivation enough for me to contribute and fight for equal rights.

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Analyzing Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter From Birmingham Jail”. (2021, Dec 13). Retrieved from