Martin Luther King

They were arrested while articulating in a peaceful demonstration referred to as the “Birmingham Campaign. ” In his letter, King states that he was compelled to “bring the gospel of freedom” wherever injustice exists. The campaign was mainly designed to bring attention to the awful treatment blacks were experiencing within the city of Birmingham, Alabama. This was Martin Luther Kings thirteenth arrest and probably most “Important” one, as well. After serving four days In Jail, one of Martin Luther King’s friends, who was also a fellow protestor, was able to smuggle a single copy of the coal newspaper to King.

He did so because he wanted to make King aware of an “open letter” appearing In the newspaper, which was written by eight local “clergy men”, consisting of Christian and Jewish religious leaders. The “open letter” condemned King as an outsider, and the demonstration as the cause of violent reaction in the community. On this fourth day of his imprisonment, Martin Luther King penned his now famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” For my formal paper I decided to analyze his beautiful, and well thought out response to the local clergy.

Although King appeals o the common Jude- Christian beliefs that he and the local clergy share, he points out that their actions belie their words. He accuses the clergy of dealing with the effects of the demonstration, but falling to address the underlying causes. He appeals to his fellow clergymen by citing a few poignant examples of “Negro’ suffering in the south, egg. “Perhaps it is easy to say, “Wait”. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers an fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; etc… Then the word “Walt” has almost always meant “Never. ”

King’s prose In conveying his message Is convincing, and truly remarkable. The letter sums up how King felt about his arrest in Birmingham as well as how he felt about the civil rights movement in general. He is responding to the clergymen who were critical of King for “Interloping” in certain affairs in Birmingham. The reasons why I chose this for analysis are not jut because of the Interesting variables presented, but more so because of King’s skill in justifying his actions. ” A letter to Birmingham” is probably one of the best examples of convincing argumentative pieces ever written. In his letter Dry.

Martin Luther King Jar. Both Justifies and explains the nonviolent actions that had sent him to Jail. He explained why he believed that the segregation laws against blacks in the south must be changed. (355-370) In his letter he 1 OFF ethos, pathos and logos are apparent. He appeals to the emotions, logic and ethics of the clergy. He opens his letter by appealing to the common bond he has with the local clergy “MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN”. He thus sets the mood and the tone. Although his words are respectful, {“l feel you are men of general goodwill”}, they are also firm. He states, “l am in Birmingham because injustice is here”.

From his opening paragraph, King’s wording is perfect. He never appears angry. Rather, King presents a well- ordered and reasonable approach, thus attempting to solve a problem that has defied solution for more than 300 years. He appeals to the emotions of the local clergy when he says, “But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, less them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which dispiritedly use you, and persecute you. In order to drive home his arguments, he cites historical events that will resonate with the clergy. King also discusses how he views the church with a mixture of disappointment and love. Another specific example of King’s use of pathos is demonstrated when he says: “when 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, and see tears welling up n her eyes when she is told that Function is closed to colored children. The foregoing quote is a classic example of Aristotle use of “pathos” in order to convince the reader of the viability of one’s position. Kings use of the above example most certainly will evoke feelings of sadness and guilt, and thus aid in the accomplishment of his goals. Aristotle refers to Ethos as establishing that you are credible, honest and ethical. King establishes his credibility by citing the fact that he is the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization fighting for human rights, ND operating in every southern state.

He answers the “Why’ by exhibiting expertise in a broad spectrum of religious and historical subject matter. It is not Just a simple explanation, but it is showing that the person is knowledgeable in whatever it is they are explaining. It is evident that Martin Luther King is knowledgeable, moral and reasonable. King displays these traits throughout the letter. Firstly, when he tells the reader why he is writing the letter- (539-540) he begins by being respectful, (“l believe you are men of general goodwill”], and continues to mount a reasonable and invoicing case.

In order to successfully employ “logos”, one must make a logical appeal. In order to do so, one must use facts, show evidence, and use reason to assert a convincing argument. Dry. King accomplishes his goal by making irrefutable points that the local clergy would be hard pressed to counter. In the newspaper article written by the clergymen they argued that the demonstration was in violation of a local ordinance, and was therefore illegal. King countered by stating that Adolph Hitler acted within “German LaW’ when he committed unconscionable atrocities.

He goes on to say, just laws. One has not only a legal but also a moral responsibility to obey Just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”. He claims that segregation laws are unjust because the give the segregates a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Throughout his life Martin Luther King willingly accepted the consequences of breaking laws that his conscience told him were unjust. He felt that his actions would arouse the conscience of the community and help lead the way to equality..