Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail

1156 words - 5 pages

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail

     Martin Luther King Jr. writes the Clergymen that have written him a letter disputing his actions in Birmingham. King is disturbed and offended by the Clergymen disagreeing with his purpose in Birmingham. King say he normally does not respond to criticism because it would waste to much precious time, but since these were men of good will he wanted to give his answers to their statements. In King's letter he appeals to many emotions as pathos, ethos, and logos to appeal to his audience.

     King starts his letter by saying ?While confined here in the Birmingham city jail.? This is important because King is making a strong point right away in his letter. He is saying they threw me in jail for what I believe and I am okay with that because I am standing up for what I believe in. He is also saying I am making a sacrifice for the cause of human rights and yet you are disputing my purpose for being here in Birmingham.
King does a great job bringing his audience to reality when he talks about how he has been labeled as an ?outsider coming in? by the Clergymen. King argues that he is part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference serving as their President. King states that they were asked by affiliates in Birmingham ?to be on call to engage in nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary . . . the hour came and we lived up to our promise . . . I was invited here, I am here because I have organization ties here.? King definitely feels that he had a genuine purpose to be there because of his organizational ties to the people of the community. Probably more so because of the responsibility to do something about the injustice committed in Birmingham. King had a strong belief that people should never be oppressed and the people of Birmingham have been oppressed for far to long. King felt that ?Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.? In this he was saying that if you allowed the unrighteous treatment of people to occur in one area that it will only spread to new areas and affect more and more people. If people see this unjust treatment being committed with out consequences over and over they will come to accept it as okay and something that is accepted. This would in turn be a great tragedy to all mankind.

King brings in to consideration a persons logical thought when he talks about just and unjust laws. King says ?A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.? The Clergymen express great concern over King is willingness to break laws. King replies that this is an understandable concern since everyone follows the Supreme Court Decision of 1954 that states; public schools are not to be segregated. In other words King is saying the Supreme Court can hand down a just law and yet people do not obey it but yet they expect me to obey an unjust law. In Germany...

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