Martin Luther King Rhetorical Essay - Suny Polytechnic Institute/english 101 - Essay

1311 words - 6 pages

Braxton Evans-Murphy
ENG 101 / Essay 2 Rhetorical Analysis
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. uses the rhetorical device ethos throughout his letter to
support his views on his movement in response to the public statement by eight Alabama
Clergymen. In terms of context Dr. King's’ setup to his letter is almost bullet-like. In the sense
that he hit on every point one by one referring to the Public statement. He explains why he is
doing it, and reasons why people should join in on his movement. With these few things in mind
Dr. King present a powerful letter that not only justifies his non-violent protests but also
persuades many white moderates to take action and join the movement for racial freedom.
Throughout “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King gives much evidence in his reasoning
for protesting in Birmingham. Dr. King emphasizes that he did not go to Birmingham to protest
out of fun or to try and set an example for white people to not mess with African American
rights. He simply put that he came because of his affiliation with a civil rights group in
Birmingham and the mere fact that Birmingham was brewing with injustice. He justified his
actions by referencing the prophet Apostle Paul saying “...just as Apostle Paul left his village of
Tarsus 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 own home town”. Because he is
responding mainly to the eight Clergymen this use of biblical context makes for a persuading
argument. Tagging along with the sense of injustice in Birmingham Dr. King believed that
injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. In order for the civil rights movement to walk in the
right direction injustice needed to diminish. His way of contributing to this would to be his
involvement with nonviolent marches in order to try and open up Americans eyes to the
overwhelming amount of injustice at the time. Lastly he went because Birmingham left him no
other choice. Cities such as Birmingham with an immense amount of white power has
subjugated negros living in those cities for too long. Time and time again negros have tried to
bring up legislation and rules to solve there problems, however, the only way people of power
start to listen is when civil unrest in created and the oppressed force a decision to be made.
In response to the Clergymen saying that his protests were “untimely” Dr.King gives
justifying evidence that his protest wasn’t untimely in the slightest. Dr. King stressed that African
Americans did not make a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and non-violent
pressure. He believed that the new administration still wasn't going to budge without action. For
action pushes change. The overall purpose of these non-violent protests were to force the
situation and get to negotiating. Dr. King put it plainly “Just as socrates felt it was necessary to
create a tension in the mind so that indivduals could rise from the bindage...

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