“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Against Discrimination and Segregation
Injustice has manifested throughout the centuries for as long as society has known. From discrimination, to segregation civilians have been taught to neglect or judge people based on the content of there skin, sex, or age. With leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., who has taken it upon himself to speak out on an unreasonable and unjustifiable act, he created the Letter from a Birmingham.
With Dr. King being the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organizing educational, and financial resources frequently was a necessary task for others to live up to a promising lifestyle.
Dr. King includes in his letter that an affiliate asks the conference to engage in a ‘nonviolent’ direct action program in Birmingham. Birmingham was known to be a place that stored a lot of segregated behavior. It was only appropriate to create a positive movement to change the system little by little, which was Dr. King’s ideal purpose. Dr. King referred to Birmingham as ‘America’s worst city of racism’ and made it his goal to bring justice and peace to all of its people, not only for the state but for the rest of the country.
In Dr. king’s letter he uses various forms of rhetorical devices. Dr. King States ‘But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brother and sisters at whim; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’ (383) which was a use of parallelism. It reached into the reader’s mind to help them better understand the never-ending hardships African Americans had to endure on a daily basis.. He also includes metaphors such as when he says he sees ‘twenty million negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of proverty in the midst of an affluent society.’ (383) This metaphor creates a vivid picture of African Americans being seen only for enslavement. Since Dr. King uses this letter as an example of personal experience with enduring black peoples injustice. It allows the audience to view his argument and sympathize with his ultimate goal.
By grasping the audience’s attention Dr. King uses brutality, violence, and, despotism. This use of pathos lets the reader understand the issues black people had to face to make the reader understand the injustice they had to suffer for, over a peaceful protest. Dr. King also makes his point across by stating that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat of justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly’ (380). This statement shows that no matter what race, everyone is affected by injustice.
To make everyone including the clergyman believe his contretemps he had to use reasons and facts to assure. Dr. King uses logos by stating facts about the bombing of negro homes and churches in Birmingham and how it is the city with the most unsolved state of affairs in the nation. This provides a type of integrity and faith that the audience will uphold when reading Dr. King’s letter. King had two main purposes for writing this essay: to respond to the criticism from society and to call attention to racism problems. He used logical appeal to make audiences understood the dilemma that Negroes were facing, and King could persuaded more people to get involved to the movement that against racial segregation.
He was able to show the American people the injustices the black community faced, as well as the nonviolent protests that were critical to the movement, and the changes that brought equality and peace to America. If these rhetorical devices were not used, his audience would not be able to truly comprehend the argument he was conveying, The Civil Rights Movement wouldn’t be as fortunate and vast as it ended up being. His use of ethos, pathos, and logos made his letter more reliable, sensible, and better to understand and sympathize with. If Dr. King had not written such a powerful and potent letter from the use of rhetorical devices, the strength of the Civil Rights Movement uproar and momentum that it is remembered today would be disregarded from the people of America.
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