Dr. Martin Luther King's The Ways Of Meeting Oppression

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Dr. Martin Luther King was a minister, an activist, a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and a driving force in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. “The Ways of Meeting Oppression” is an excerpt from his 1958 book, Stride Toward Freedom. In this writing, King categorizes three ways humans have historically dealt with oppression: acquiesce, violence, and non-violent protest. Rather than presenting a simple persuasive argument, he appeals to the reader’s logos and presents the three topics categorically to help the reader come to a natural conclusion that extreme actions are often immoral, and that taking the middle road would prove more beneficial. King begins with acquiesce, an extreme behaviour with which the oppressed do nothing to fight injustice. He references the biblical story of Israelites slaves, some of whom chose to remain slaves rather than fight for their freedom. As a Baptist minister, King would be familiar with preaching humility as a Christian value, but in this writing he says that those who humbly accept wearing the “yolk of oppression” (2-2) are just as immoral as the system which allows them to be oppressed. King is stating that we are all equal, and allowing hatred and injustice to pass unchecked is only creating a “negative freedom” (2-4). He then moves to the contrast of acquiesce; violence. King begins by acknowledging that nations throughout history have used violence to win their freedom, “[b]ut in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace” (4-4). Although King does not supply scientific or factual sources, he appeals to the reader’s pathos to show that achieving justice through violence and hatred is both ineffective and immoral. King also provides the biblical reference of…show more content…
Eds. Brundage, David, and Michael Lahey. Toronto: Pearson Canada Inc., 2012. 442-444.
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