Dr. Martin Luther King – Example of Civil Disobedience and Transcendentalism Ideas
Standing up for what you believe in, no matter the consequences shows how dedicated one can be, just like Henry David Thoreau. King was known for his views on racial injustice towards the black community. He used a peaceful approach to the topic, organizing boycotts and giving large speeches to his mistreated people.
He was most famous for his I Have A Dream speech, given on August 28th, 1963 in Washington D.C. During his protests, King was arrested in Birmingham,Alabama and was sent to jail. With all this time on his hands, King wrote a letter in response to Birmingham clergymen who had recently criticized his actions. In this letter, King uses cultural criticism, pathos, and metaphors to expand on his thoughts. Two of his most famous articles of this are his I Have A Dream speech and his Letter from Birmingham Jail.
During King’s time spent in jail, King expressed his views and feelings in a letter defending his approach of nonviolent protesting. This letter was wrote in response to the eight white Alabama clergymen. These men slandered King’s name, provoked him, and questioned his methods.In the letter, King describes his experiences with cultural criticism. The text states There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Itsugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings on Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. (King). King recalls all of the injustices his people constantly face on a daily basis. During this time period, it is normal to whites to mistreat blacks, and the black community demands justice. As King goes on in his letter, he mentions the hardships his community faced. In the text, King states Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, Wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and father sat will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters. (King) This example shows what King and the black community he represents has gone through and faced on the daily, but this didn’t stop him for standing up for what he believes in. Although these events may be traumatizing, King continues to push forward, peacefully spreading his message to others. This is an example of how King compares to Thoreau on how strong they were with their ideas even risking going to prison for it.
The black community has been facing racial injustice forever it seems, and King was one who identified the problem and sought after change. King uses pathos to provoke an emotional response in his audience. In the letter, King saysWhen you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television 1, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mentalsky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by devolving an unconscious bitterness toward white people. (King) King speaks about his daughter, and the racial injustices she had to face,not just him. Racism affects children as well as adults. He uses pathos in the form of his daughter to get an emotional response from the audience. This will make anyone with children, or anyone who was a general care for kids overall upset. Kingstates I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys, if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us good because we wanted to sing our grace together. (King) Dr. King recalls the injustices done by the police system. He speaks of the racist tendencies of the police. King has fought his way to the point where he can speak about the state of his country.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , just like Thoreau, shows characteristics of a true nonconformist and displays civil disobedience. He identified the problem, and sought for change. He uses cultural criticism, pathos, metaphors, and many other figurative language techniques to present his civil disobedience to stand up for what he believes in.
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