Rhetorical Analysis of Letter from Birmingham Jail

Rhetorical Analysis of Letter from Birmingham Jail

In the spring 1963, Martin Luther King was jailed due to his non-violent demonstrations against racial segregation at Birmingham. Eight of Alabama’s top white religious leaders criticized his action as “unwise and untimely,” and called him an “outsider.” Martin Luther King responded with his own article, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” He explained his reasons in Birmingham, and necessities of taking nonviolent direct action in Birmingham. He also persuaded the audiences to get involved with the African-American civil rights movement. Throughout this letter, there are many smart and clever uses of logical appeals (King).

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Opponents called King “outsider,” because King, who held this demonstration, was originally from Atlanta. King indicated that he was not an outsider. He established his authority that he had the honor of serving as President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He came to Birmingham because he was on the call from affiliates in Alabama to engage in a non-violent direct action. To be more specific, King explained another reason that he was in Birmingham. He argued:” I am here because injustice was here.” Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case (King). Some of the audience might have little known about how Negroes was segregated in Birmingham, so King listed evidences. He pointed out how Negroes suffered unjust treatment in Birmingham court and how Negroes were threatened by bombing. King showed the necessities of taking demonstration in Birmingham so that he could dispel the doubts from society (King).

Eight of the clergymen also disagreed with the immense tension created by the demonstration. They expected King and his organization to take negotiation instead of direct action. King showed that taking direct action in Birmingham was necessary. He cleverly connected clergymen’s suggestion to his direct  action: You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed,this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored (King). King wrote that his purpose of direct action exactly matched what clergymen suggested for. He mentioned that there had been some negotiations held with the leaders of Birmingham. However, negotiations were failed because those leaders did not keep their promises. Negro leaders could only choose direct action to “create such a crisis and foster such a tension,” in order to “dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.” Therefore, there were no equitable reasons that clergymen or Birmingham government should stop their non-violent direct action (King).

There were so many Biblical figures and authorities uses in this article. For instance, in the third paragraph, he wrote: I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. 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 my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid (King)! He used Biblical context to support his action, and he compared himself to the apostle Paul. It means that King’s job is similar to Paul. King wanted to carry justice to Birmingham by this demonstration. There are more examples that King used Biblical figures and authorities to make logical appeal. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists… Clergymen categorized King as an extremist. In the same way, he assimilated himself to Jesus Christ, who “was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness.” There were several reasons that King used biblical figures. First, King was a clergyman who knew much about biblical figures which were authentic for him. Second, the direct audiences he responded to were eight of Alabama’s top white clergymen. Biblical figures were also powerful for them. Moreover, by using Christian authorities, King was able to gain more supports from Christian audiences. To sum up, King’s uses of Biblical figures and authorities was a powerful tool in logical appeal (King).

King had two main purposes for writing this essay: to respond to the criticism from society and to call attention for racism problems. He used logical appeal to make audiences understood the dilemma that Negroes were facing, and King could persuaded more people to get involved to the movement that against racial segregation. Works Cited

King JR., Martin Luther.” Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Ebony. Nov. 1985. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 November 2013

Moreover, King emphasized that his “direct action” was “nonviolent direct action,” which was different from other extremists who were dangerous and harmful for society. Long , effective ,tight structure.

1) Face to crticrtion to #$#, the direction reason he first explain his extist in Birmingham, 1. Back up with injustice is in birmingham. examples of how injustice in bid to show the neccary to Birmingham 2. He talks about why direct action?

Cannot delay why direct action why not negotiation indicate their direct action is non violent, connect negotiation and non direct action I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes In fact, in 1963, it was a hard time for colored people, they treated with extremely unfair were separated with white, and were.(influence of this letter )(audience) this letter published , thereIt was a hard job to persuade these white leaders at that difficult time.( detele before) . Concluding paragraph should highlight the argument’s strengths and weaknesses (as concerns the intended audience) B. After weighing strengths and weaknesses, offer a final evaluation of the argument’s overall persuasiveness relative to the intended audience

African-American Civil Rights

1. One of the major themes of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. (Led Zeppelin)(B) 2. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” demonstrates that the best way to fight for justice should be through nonviolent protest. (Kesha)(C) 3. Martin Luther King used historical and Biblical figures and authorities to support his arguments in “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”(JT)(B) 4. In the “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King uses Religion to build his case for racial justice and equality. (Kesha)(B) 5. “Oppressed people can not remain oppressed forever” (King). This statement is the most powerful statement in Martin Luther King’s famous and influential “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King explained how the civil rights movement was not only inevitable but vital for society’s growth and prosperity (Kanye West)(A+) 6. King’s use of emotional rhetoric was moving and persuasive in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” (JT) 7. In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King explains how, “sometimes a law is just on its base and unjust in its application.” (LZ) 8. There are many smart and clever uses of logical appeals in Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” (Kesha) 9. “The Letter from Birmingham Jail” serves as a blueprint for Non-violent protests, direction and negotiation in civil protest movements. (Kanye West)

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. responds to the charge that his actions were ill-timed and overly aggressive. He argues that decent human beings should stamp out injustice whenever it is found and that segregation is unjust because it is undemocratic and degrades the human spirit. However, King also calls on his audience to become emotionally involved in the lives of those affected by racial discrimination. He writes:

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