Response to "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

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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. For example, on the topic of spreading knowledge of injustices committed through segregation, King states that, “Just as the prophets of eighth century B.C left their villages . . . and just as the Apostle Paul left his village . . . 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 hometown” (742). In this way, the Reverend places his mission of preaching freedom alongside the efforts of the prophets of old in terms of importance, and thus invites the reader to reflect upon the noble task he is undertaking. Because religion is so widely regarded as a sacred concept that should never be challenged, King’s comparison of religion to freedom is highly effective in convincing the reader that injustices committed upon a person’s freedom are not to be tolerated. King also covers the need for a more secular point of view by creating parallels between himself and Socrates, stating, “Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create

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