Letter from the Birmingham Jail

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On Good Friday in 1963, 53 blacks, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched into downtown Birmingham to protest the existing segregation laws. All were arrested. This caused the clergymen of this Southern town to compose a letter appealing to the black population to stop their demonstrations. This letter appeared in the Birmingham Newspaper. In response, Martin Luther King drafted a document that would mark the turning point of the Civil Rights movement and provide enduring inspiration to the struggle for racial equality. King's “Letter from Birmingham Jail” strives to justify the desperate need for nonviolent direct action, the absolute immorality of unjust laws together with what a just law is, as well as, the increasing probability of the “Negro” resorting to extreme disorder and bloodshed, in addition to his utter disappointment with the Church who, in his opinion, had not lived up to their responsibilities as people of God. King's justification to the eight clergymen for protesting segregation begins with a profound explanation of their actions, “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”. The actions of the African American people are overdue and very well planned as King had explained in the letter. Their quest was to force the white politicians to negotiate and actually heed the requests for desegregation. King does this all in a diplomatic, heartfelt and completely inoffensive voice. King effectively makes use of logos throughout his letter. He clarifies all of the reasons for his arguments and supports them well. His arguments are also logical in their appeal. For example, in the beginning of his letter he gives a response to the clergymen’s claim that the demonstrations were unwise and untimely. He states that the Negro

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