When a local judge wanted to put a stop to the protesting, Martin Luther King was arrested and sent to the Birmingham City Jail. While in jail, Martin Luther King received a letter written by white clergymen that was sent to the entire community. The letter asked people not to protest and to find other peaceful ways of solving racial discrimination. Martin Luther King was shocked by this letter and reacted by writing one of the most important arguments for civil disobedience. His letter is known as "The Letter From Birmingham City Jail."
Analysis of “I Have a Dream” and “Letter to Birmingham Jail” In the “Letter to Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King addresses the criticisms and objections that the white clergymen had made towards his and his affiliated organization’s efforts in trying to end segregation and achieve his and his people’s birth right: the right to be free through nonviolent means. Through the “I Have a Dream Speech” King speaks to his supporters and as well as to the entire nation to make them be fully aware of the injustices they are facing and through this make them stand up to those injustices. Both “Letter to Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream Speech” have the same underlying meaning however. That way too long have the black community been treated wrongly. That way too long have the black nation been “judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character (King 815)” and therefore it is time for them to rise and stand up for their rights.
Letter from Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis In “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. uses many different types of strategies to convince his reader bout his views on cultural segregation. King’s letter is a direct response to the eight white clergymen of Alabama. They believed that these civil rights movements should be fought in the courtrooms and not on the public streets of Birmingham. They referred to King’s action of protest as “’unwise and untimely’” ( qtd in King 289 ). Rather than writing a letter agreeing with the clergymen, King arouses his readers by bringing ethics, emotions, and logic to provoke thought and push his opinion about civil right protest.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written in Birmingham Jail in 1963 as a response to the Clergymen to explain his actions and also to answer their questions on why he did not call off the demonstrations. King was a civil rights activist who organized a campaign against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. In his letter, King uses anaphora and allusions frequently. He also appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos to make his letter a paradigm of effective rhetoric. King uses allusions frequently throughout his letter.
Upon these agreements, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, the leader of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, (including Martin Luther King) had agreed to delay the peaceful demonstrations. Unfortunately, these promises were broken and the signs were put up again. Furthermore, King later states: “As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been basted, and the shadow of disappointment settled upon us, we had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.” In this quotation, he refers to the unjust and ugly treatment towards Negroes such as in the courts, and unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches to support his claim. The implied warrant here, is that most agree that one should not quickly resort to protests and such until they have exhausted all other steps beforehand such as negotiation. To back this, it’s said that these steps do not always work in every situation.
Dr. King fought his whole career for equality amongst the races, meaning all communities with violent, racist actions should be addressed. The clergymen presented Dr. King with a list of arguments they had against him; he responded to these in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. A few of the arguments King responded to from the clergymen were to have local solutions to local problems; to pursue justice in the courts, not the streets; and to keep peace, law, and order among all. Corwin 2 The clergymen of Alabama were clearly against any outsiders coming into their territory. They had called Dr. King an outsider to the Birmingham community.
He informs the clergymen of his views and the reasons for his “direct action” on the issue of desegregation. King also attacks the “white moderate” on their actions and expresses his disappointment with their unconstitutional measures. Dr. King uses ethos, logos, and pathos to explain to his fellow clergymen about his present actions in Birmingham, and to inform them about his future plans to defy segregation. Dr. King establishes ethos in the second paragraph of his letter by identifying himself as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He furthers this credibility by noting that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South.
Jennifer Smith Prof Franco 3/26/2011 Engl 1213 Standing up One of the most known advocates for equality is Martin Luther King Jr. He’s had some of the most moving, convincing and change inducing speeches of all time. His “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is no exception. King wrote the letter from a Birmingham jail cell in April on 1963 following his arrest for public demonstration. In the beginning of the letter, King describes his reason for writing the letter as a response to the Clergymen’s statement calling his “present activities unwise and untimely. ” (King).
Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical strategy in a “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by citing philosophers, theologians, presidents, and the Constitution as evidence. King uses St Thomas Aquinas views to clarify and deduct the fairness of a law: “All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality” (570). To explain why discriminating laws demean the segregationists King states, “Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an ‘I-it’ relationship for an ‘I-thou’ relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things” (570). He references Paul Tillich to validate his contention that segregation is not only morally despicable but also sinful. Stating this country cannot survive being divided as further evidence on his fight for equality by mentioning Abraham Lincoln.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16, 1963 to express his views against unjust laws, which discriminated against him others. In the beginning King explains that he is in jail and is taking in the things he has been criticized for. At the time King was extremely aggravated by the way the church, especially the white clergy who was not in support of the religious civil rights movement. He wrote this letter as a response to the church’s separation of holy and worldly matters concerning his cause. The letter then talks about why King was in Birmingham.