Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay
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Rhetorical Analysis of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
In his essay "Letter from Birmingham Jail", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. disproves the assumptions of people that believe racism is acceptable when he compares the maltreatment of blacks to the inhumane treatment of the Jews by Hitler. King establishes a relationship with his audience by connecting on a level that is larger than the exploitation of African American's rights. He forces his readers to think about the execution of millions of Jews that was ordered by Hitler. He makes it logically apparent in his letter that just because segregation is a law, it does not mean that it is just. These strong words by King help establish a common ground between…show more content…
King compels his readers to make the connection between the two events by associating Hitler with the people that are segregating America. He also states how he would fight for any injustice by saying "Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish Brothers" (223). By making these strong statements he forces his audience to think logically about the treatment of African American's during the civil rights movement, regardless of which cause they supported.
Furthermore, King connects with his audience when he criticizes the unjust segregation laws. When accused of having a desire to break laws, King immediately disproves that theory by agreeing with their concern, and then discusses the difference between just and unjust laws. He quotes St. Thomas Aquinas faultlessly when he states his thoughts on law: "Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality" (222). He continues to say that a person has a "moral responsibility" (221) to refuse to comply with unjust laws, as well as having an obligation to obey just laws. His statement forces his readers to put themselves in his shoes and think of their moral responsibility to stand up against unjust laws regardless of
Show MoreMartin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is an excellent example of an effective argument; it was written in response to an editorial addressing the issue of Negro demonstrations and segregation in Alabama at the time. He writes in a way that makes his argument approachable; he is not attacking his opposition, which consists of eight Alabama clergymen who wrote the editorial. This is illustrated in his opening sentence: “My dear Fellow Clergymen” (464). King was an activist for civil rights during this time, and came to Alabama to help out his fellow brothers that were facing opposition. He was concerned with the monologue rather than dialogue that was going on during this time in Alabama; where each side would talk about the…show more content…
Here the audience sees that King addresses the problem of “shallow understanding from people of good will,” saying that “lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection” (470). King proposes that these white moderates stop being passive and wait around; rather they take a stand either way. He incorporates credible sources, prime examples, and refutes any argument that the clergymen might have. King proves himself and his argument through examples, and he answers every aspect of the clergymen’s letter, making his argument a strong and informative one.
I have found that in argument I am more willing to negotiate and talk with another if they allow themselves to be open-minded, or criticized in their views. For example, when my friend Tyler and I were arguing over the meaning of predestination in the Bible, I would give him time to explain to me his thoughts. He believed that predestination as is stated in the Bible should be taken in the literal sense, that God chose people to become saved and therefore we as humans have no control over our salvation. In turn, he listened when I addressed my views on predestination, which consisted of my thoughts that predestination should be taken in a