Analysis of Martin Luther King's “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

999 words 4 pages
Martin Luther King Jr, an civil rights activist, fought for the rights of African Americans in 1963. King organized various non-violent demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama that resulted in his arrest. While in jail, King received a letter from eight Alabama clergyman explaining their distress and opposition to King and his followers actions. This letter occasioned his reply and caused King to write a persuasive letter justifying his actions and presence in Birmingham. Although King’s reply was addressed to the Alabama clergyman, its target audience was the “white moderate”. King understood that if he gained support from the average, indifferent white American that the civil rights movement would reach it’s goals much faster. In his …show more content…

The antidote addresses all aspects of racism, abuse, and segregation that African Americans endure on a daily bases. King directs attention to the antidote by using long fluent syntax structure and colorful imagery. The clergyman of Alabama may or may not know the harsh realities of society’s cruelness towards the African American race. By reading King’s histrionic, and touching antidote the clergyman may become enlightened for the first time. King also targets parents, by targeting the “white moderate”. Parents could put themselves in that situation and understand how hard it must be for African Americans. King creates sympathy and with sympathy comes action. By including the empathetic antidote King informs the possibly unaware clergyman and inflames the emotions and sympathy of the average man in hopes of getting them to act. Logic builds the back bone to King’s argument, it shows that he is educated, informed, and not acting purely on emotion; the use of facts as rhetorical tools persuades through reason and strengthens Kings argument. By constructing a logical argument he is able to state his ambitions and ideas clearly and effectively. He gives specific examples to why he took action in Birmingham, “In any nonviolent campaign there are four steps: 1) collection of the facts to determine weather injustices are alive…”(King). This gives the clergyman and “white moderate” understanding of the reason why King took direct action and organized rebellious demonstrations


  • “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” Analysis of the Rhetorical Appeals
    1195 words | 5 pages