Response to “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. has always been regarded as a profound historical figure, yet many fail to comprehend the magnitude of his influential impact on our world today. In fact, it is common for people to think of him only on the national holiday dedicated to his memory. His life and untimely death should always serve as a reminder of something many individuals take for granted: their personal freedom. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, is written as a response to criticism that called his actions “unwise and untimely” (741); the powerful emotional and religious language he uses in this response are utimately the most convincing persuasive elements of the letter. One of King’s most effective writing techniques is drawing comparisons from past historical leaders to himself and his current cause.
He loves the church and will remain to his faith. “ In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structures. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.” (28) In this second paragraph, I can see that King is disappointed that the white religious community did not help him with his civil rights movement. I can very much agree with him.
He then received many other awards later on. Desmond knew between right and wrong and fought for what he believed in. Desmond’s conscience made him carry out his actions. Our conscience tells us between right and wrong, and Desmond’s conscience did the same, he showed that by using non-violent methods when he campaigned. He not only believes that God loves you no matter what, he believes that it is through us he works.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written in the year 1963, a time period where African Americans were fighting for their equality. King’s legacy of devotion to social justice and true peace is manifested in this letter with perfect combinations of confidence and passion throughout. Although the clergymen deplore the activists’ actions, the prudent King uses logos, ethos, and pathos to justify those actions. King uses logos in his letter to be able to back up his counter argument against the clergymen’s accusations. He tries to support the fact that “(they) had no alternative except to prepare for direct action,” However he is able to effectively utilize several logical examples of evidence to help prove his point.
3) King balances the twin appeals to religion and patriotism throughout “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by linking them together. When he is told that he is an extremist, he answers with “Was not Jesus an extremist for love… Was not Amos an extremist for justice… Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel” (269). Here, Martin Luther King is linking both by saying that he can not be criticized for this since other did the same for different reasons. Therefore, Martin Luther King isn’t emphasizing religion nor patriotism more than the other since he wants his ideas to appeal to everyone. Questions on Rhetoric and Style 3) King’s allusions to biblical figures and events appeal to ethos because he is proving to have credibility in what he is saying since he is referring to the bible, which many people read.
Sarah ENG102-701 April 17, 2014 MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” There is something about fighting for what is right and just, fighting the good fight, that gets people going, after all “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is not only passionate, but inspirational. He sets out to move the clergymen to support the demonstrations and I cannot imagine that the clergymen had no reaction. King begins with a genius, polite, and well-written introduction. He establishes in his first three paragraphs the purpose of the letter, who he is and his purpose in Birmingham, AL in the same calm manner in which the Birmingham media and police were appraised for. He continues to lure his audience throughout the letter by questioning them, providing description of the struggle and maintaining civility with them; a great balance of logos, ethos, and pathos.
I found this primary source particularly interesting because Roger Williams was a strong contributor to the idea of separation of church and state, and it is interesting on how he views the subject. What’s also intriguing is that his ideals are still used today. Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts in 1636 due to his overwhelming conviction of separation of church and state. From his banishment he started his own colony and called it Rhode Island. Rhode Island was soon known for its religious freedom and many flocked there to experience it themselves.
Jesus warned Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) Likewise, Gandhi upheld this attitude of non-violent resistance in his teachings. At a mosque he enlightened a large crowd, “We do not seek conflict. We know the strength of the forces arrayed against us, know that because of them we can only use peaceful means – but we are determined that justice will be done!” In Hinduism, ahimsa is a rule of conduct that allows for the use of violence for self-defense when being attacked by an enemy. As Jesus configured the beliefs of retaliation in the Old Testament, Gandhi furthered the beliefs of ahimsa by practicing complete non-violent retaliation towards armed enemies. Gandhi endeared Christ’s teachings of non-violence because he recognized that he could expose the brutality of attacking forces through enduring physical harm but not returning it.
A fight for racial equality or a fight to keep inequality, racial conflict. “I still have a dream, it is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”. These were the words of Reverend Martin Luther King Junior, a warrior and spiritual man who fought in a conflict. A conflict for equality for all, a conflict for justice, a conflict during which he would eventually pay the ultimate price. It was reverend Martin Luther King and other great people like him in history, people with a desire for justice and equality, that eventually brought equality or at least reasonable equality in comparison to the inequalities that once existed in the United States of America.
In Martin Luther King’s acceptance speech for the noble peace prize, he articulates that nonviolence is a perfect answer to the crucial political and more question of our time- the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Individuals of the black race were patronized and attacked due to racial injustice. MLK created a notion of nonviolence in order to end this injustice. He emphasizes that demonstrating a nonviolent demeanor is a much powerful force, which allows social transformation. However in order for social transformation to exist we must all develop a mentality/lifestyle that rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.