27 October 2010
A Peaceful Letter
Martin Luther King Junior’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” is a peaceful letter written to grab the clergymen’s attention that African Americans can wait no longer and segregation must end now. He does this using the appeals of pathos logos and ethos. King’s purpose is to speak out for the rights of African Americans and how they are denied equal rights as U.S citizens. He does have a specific audience. These men of god, to whom he is speaking, want to help the civil rights movement but never believe it is the right time. King wants to convince these men that the time is now and they can wait no longer. It is necessary he do this so that he may fight this war peacefully.
King starts by addressing their emotions and telling them personal stories of moments in hardship and pain. He sadly says, “….When you suddenly find… your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the amusement park …and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that the Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards white people.” (218). The United States is a country known for sheltering children therefore when heard that children are being treated unfairly. Also as men of God they should all believe that children are innocent creatures and they can clearly see segregation making African American children become bitter. Children should cause these men to feel empathy for African Americans and by doing so King is using the emotional appeal.
In addition to King using the children as the pathos appeal he adds how African Americans are degraded so far by white people that they are not even called by their true names. He says, “…when your first name becomes “Nigger”, your middle name becomes “boy”...