King’s Letter from Birmingham BY skJ1149 Kings Letter from Birmingham While in Jail for peaceful protesting for civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, Letter from Birmingham Jail. He wrote it to a group of clergymen who did not support his civil rights movement in order to try and gain their support. King adopts a tone of controlled anger in order to create a logical yet emotional argument. When talking about the suffering of his people, Kings tone holds restrained anger.

King displays that; “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 nd fathers… you can understand our… impatience”. The use of controlled anger in this passage communicates an emotional situation. Involving these horrific events in his letter makes it obvious that there is severe injustice in racism. The words “stinging darts” as well as “vicious mobs” work in order to display Kings anger at these injustices.

Emotion and logic are evident when King says, “[l] see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people”. The words “distort” and “bitterness” extort the frustration and agony felt by King that is featured in this passage. Incorporating the negative affects on the children using such heavily negative diction is another way an emotional attachment and sense of right and wrong are formed. By restraining his anger he is able to keep the clergymen engaged while clearly displaying his point.

Many Christians in the past have been harshly punished for the act of practicing civil disobedience. King says that civil disobedience “was practiced superbly by Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions”; instead of submitting to unjust Roman laws. By saying this King exploits the hypocrisy in the clergymen’s refusal of upporting him. Kings logical argument in this passage is emphasized by the fact that what he is doing is no different than what they did.

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King mentions that, “academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience” and “the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience”. Referencing two more great acts of civil disobedience furthers Kings logical point that his peaceful war on racism is a powerful and affective way to acquire civil rights. By controlling his anger and focusing it in on making an effective appeal to logic, King is ble to make his audience take into account his point and strongly reconsider their actions.

When talking about “legal” and “illegal” laws of Germany and Hungary, King says; “everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fghters did in Hungary was ‘illegal”. Kings use of this historical event furthers an argument supported by logic and emotion. His reference to Hitler’s Germany and discussion of a topic, which is understood to be one of the greatest examples of a catastrophe due to racism, is used in order to communicate the importance of Kings cause.

By continuing to say he would have comforted his “Jewish Brothers” and broken a law, the ethical thing to do, it is reestablished that his acts of civil disobedience are Just. King says that in the case of religious suppression he “would openly advocate disobeying the countrys antireligious laws”. When saying this to do. Attaching this idea to disobeying anti-religious laws gives the clergymen another point of connection to the cause. By focusing his anger, King is capable of writing statements that are emotional yet logical and have a powerful tone to support them.


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