King Rhetorical Analysis

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Letters from Birmingham Jail 1. Content The main issue that Martin Luther King Jr. addresses in his letter is that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (342). He then states “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial, outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider where within its bounds.” (342). I believe that this is King’s thesis within his letter, and is a very strong passage. King explains that there are four basic steps in any nonviolent campaign, which include the collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. This is King’s solution for solving segregation issues, and then goes on to state that they have gone through all four of these steps in Birmingham, which was one of the most segregated cities in the United States at this time. Another interesting passage states by King includes “The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation” (343). He states that he isn’t afraid of “tension” and believes that direct action is required and a much better solution than negotiation at first. He opposes violent tension, but condones constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. A quote by Earl Warren, “justice too long delayed is justice denied” is very accurate. King states that he has heard the word, wait, for way too long and usually ends up meaning never. The time was now, if something important needed to be done. 340 years (then) have been waited out for our constitutional and God-given rights, and if action was to be taken place, it needed to be at that moment. King goes on to explain that there are two types of laws: just and
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