This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

1062 words - 4 pages

On April 16, 1963, from a jail in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. composed an extensive letter to eight clergymen who condemned the timing of the civil rights movement. Although the letter was addressed to these eight clergymen, the Letter from Birmingham Jail speaks to a national audience, especially King’s “Christian and Jewish brothers”(King, 29). His peaceful but firm letter serves as a remarkably persuasive voice to an immensely chaotic mess, and is seen as a major turning point in the civil rights movement. King believes that without direct action, the full rights for African Americans could never be achieved. He defends the impatience of people in the civil rights movement, upholding that without forceful demonstrations, equality will never be reached. King upholds that human rights must take precedence over unjust laws. His eloquent language and use of classical argumentation make his case resilient and convincing. King’s expert use of pathos invokes anger, sympathy and empathy; his impeccable use of logos made his argument rational to all; and his use of ethos, especially his use of biblical references, makes his opinions more authoritative.
Through his vivid descriptions, passionate tone, and expressive examples, King’s arguments evoke an emotional response in his readers. King’s use of pathos gives him the ability to inspire fellow civil rights activists, evoke empathy in white conservatives, and create compassion in the minds of the eight clergymen and the rest of his national audience. King seeks to lessen the aggression of white citizens while revitalizing the passion for nonviolent protest in the minds of African Americans. King cautions, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King, 11), and African Americans must stand up for their rights. As King describes the incredible horrors African Americans endure on a daily basis, he attempts to evoke an empathetic response in white conservatives, generating a refutation against these immoral behaviors. He wants his readers to imagine the pain and humiliation of the ill treatment that African Americans endure on a daily basis. King writes of vicious mobs lynching people’s mothers and fathers, policemen killing people’s brothers and sisters, a man and his wife not receiving the proper respect they deserve because of their skin color, and the notion that African Americans feel insignificant within their communities; this is why these peaceful demonstrators of whom the clergymen attack “find it difficult to wait” (King, 20). However, King believes that soon, injustice will be exposed, like “a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up” (King, 30). This vivid description helps arouse an emotional response, driving shame into the hearts of his white readers.
Throughout his letter, King also uses literal and historical analogies as well as theoretical language, also known as logos, in order to conjure a cognitive, coherent reaction in his...

Find Another Essay On The Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

891 words - 4 pages Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letters From Birmingham Jail” while he was in jail for going against the law enforcements and holding meetings, marches, and sit-ins. MLK states in the beginning of his letter how he is like the Apostle Paul from the bible. “Just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ… I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom…”(King) MLK knew he was suppose to make a

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

938 words - 4 pages eight of his fellow clergymen criticized his procedure to protest, but they still supported him. In the "Letter from Birmingham Jail", King wanted to encourage others to rebel against the wrong, even if it is not wise it is right, he was optimistic and yet disappointed. In order for him to convey his tone and purpose he reaches out to people by using allusion, analogy, and ethos. King employs allusion, to appeal to his audience and convince

letter from Birmingham jail

697 words - 3 pages The “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” is a text directed to all of America in 1963, written by Martin Luther King Jr., during his stay in one of the of Birmingham’s prisons. His intention of writing an open letter was to tell the world the injustice “the white people” had done not only to him, but to all Afro-Americans. The main stimulus was a statement made by a Clergymen naming the actions and the activities of the Southern

Analysis of "The letter from Birmingham Jail"

989 words - 4 pages , King read a letter (“A call for unity”) written by eight white Alabama clergymen against King and his methods from the newspaper. In the letter, the clergymen stated that the campaign were "directed and led in part by outsiders," urging activists to use the courts if rights were being denied rather than to protest. The letter provoked King and “the Letter from Birmingham jail” was a written response to the white clergy men and to defend the

A Letter From Birmingham Jail

731 words - 3 pages An epigram is defined as a short sentence that is pithy, and leaves a lasting affect. Epigrams are used by writers to project their message to the reader in a simplified way. In a paragraph with a conclusion epigram, instead of remembering the whole paragraph all the reader has to do is remember the epigram to understand the gist of the paragraph. In ?A Letter From Birmingham Jail,? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., uses epigrams to sum up his

A Letter From Birmingham Jail

1068 words - 4 pages Jonathan KeyENG 1302.P06Dr. Gary Wilson30 October 2014Martin Luther King Jr.'s "A Letter from Birmingham Jail" was written in the margins of a letter posted by the clergymen of Alabama that sparked his interest and while he resided in the jail cell for marching without a permit. This time allowed him the ability to respond wholeheartedly to this cynical oppressing. King's letter addresses specific issues presented by the Clergymen and this

Letter from Birmingham Jail Analysis

611 words - 3 pages Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous “A Letter from the Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963 while he was imprisoned in the Birmingham Jail for being involved in nonviolent protests against segregation. The letter is directed at eight white clergymen from Alabama who were very cynical and critical towards African Americans in one of their statements. Throughout the letter, King maintains an understanding yet persistent tone by arguing the

Letter from Birmingham Jail Analysis

1733 words - 7 pages Over the course of Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963), the author, Martin Luther King Jr., makes extended allusions to multiple philosophers, among them Aquinas and Socrates. His comparison would seem to indicate that he shares an affinity with them. However, the clarity with which he makes his arguments and the dedication to a single premise strikes most strongly of Kant. Just as Kant’s magnum opus, Critique of Pure Reason, attempted to

Rhetorical Analysis of the letter from Birmingham Jail

1232 words - 5 pages Letter from Birmingham Jail is a letter that explains the controversy that occurred when the clergymen purportedly criticized Luther’s entrance into Birmingham. Luther King Jr writes this letter to the clergymen who had insinuated that the situation of racial discrimination was in control by the law administrators and was not to be intervened by King and his group, the outsiders. The letter is published by the program of Teaching American

Themes of The Holy Bible and Letter from Birmingham Jail

1439 words - 6 pages Themes of The Holy Bible and Letter from Birmingham Jail Arguably, throughout history, the most influential book ever written has been “The Holy Bible.” Whether it is a historical document, a children’s story, a fable, a story of moral lessons, or a multitude of novels; “The Holy Bible” and its themes have been passed down through generations. If one were to look at “The Holy Bible” as a whole then one could say that the themes of the Bible

Rhetorical Analysis "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

830 words - 4 pages Rhetorical Analysis of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” In the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responds to an article by eight clergymen, in which he explains the racial injustice in Birmingham, and reasons why King's organization is protesting for Civil Rights. He introduces himself and his actions at the beginning of his letter. He states that the purpose of his direct action protest is to open the door for

Similar Essays

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

600 words - 2 pages The "Letter from Birmingham Jail" as a speech to the white Americans.Martin Luther King wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in 1963, while being arrested for non-permitted parading in a protest against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. In the letter, the biggest amount of criticism was addressed to the fellow clergymen and the Church that did not perceive the issue as an urgent one. I believe that one of the most significant issues

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

1126 words - 5 pages The Letter From Birmingham Jail In Martin Luther King?s ?Letter From Birmingham Jail?, Dr. King addresses many points made in a the public statement by the Alabama Clergymen. Dr. King explains the motives and goals of the civil rights movement. He also addresses the racial problems within Birmingham and why change was needed.First, Dr. King addresses the point made by the clergymen that outsiders were leading the demonstrations in Birmingham

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

1111 words - 5 pages “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from a jail cell in Alabama on April 16th, 1963. The reason he was in jail is he led a non-violent protest against Jim Crow laws that separated facilities between Blacks and Whites. This letter was written to response to a letter that was published in a local newspaper from eight clergymen who criticized King’s protests “unwise and untimely.” In letter, the author explained

Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

610 words - 2 pages Martin Luther King J.R.'s "Letter from Birmingham  Jail", he uses references to the past and people of the past to strengthen his point. The actions in the past and present can affect the future.     In "Letter from Birmingham Jail", King uses references to Saints, philosophers of the past, and theologians to get into the minds of the clergymen to whom he is writing the letter. By using the words of white people of the past, King can use the