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
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay
1149 Words5 Pages
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King Jr. writes the Clergymen that have written him a letter disputing his actions in Birmingham. King is disturbed and offended by the Clergymen disagreeing with his purpose in Birmingham. King say he normally does not respond to criticism because it would waste to much precious time, but since these were men of good will he wanted to give his answers to their statements. In King's letter he appeals to many emotions as pathos, ethos, and logos to appeal to his audience.
King starts his letter by saying ?While confined here in the Birmingham city jail.? This is important because King is making a strong point right away in his letter. He is saying they…show more content…
An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.? The Clergymen express great concern over King is willingness to break laws. King replies that this is an understandable concern since everyone follows the Supreme Court Decision of 1954 that states; public schools are not to be segregated. In other words King is saying the Supreme Court can hand down a just law and yet people do not obey it but yet they expect me to obey an unjust law. In Germany under Adolf Hitler every thing he did was ?legal? and the freedom fighters in Hungry did everything ?illegally?. Aiding a Jew under Hitler was considered ?illegal?. Because these things were legal did that make it right? No. Should people have obeyed these laws? No. These laws were made to suppress a group of people simple because of there religion. This is much like the segregation in the United States is it right because it is the law? No. Should these laws be followed? No.
Emotional feelings are felt through out the paper. A main emotional appeal king makes is when he is talking about his kids. When he is talking about his daughter and how she wanted to go to the new amusement park and how he would have to tell her that they could not because they were colored and colored people were not allowed. Also when he would have to answer his son?s question ?Why do white people treat colored people so mean?? King is hurt by having to answer these difficult questions posed by his own