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Birmingahm Jali

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Jessica Christian

Professor Dieu

English 1113-108

March 8, 2010

The Hero of Segregation

In the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King Jr. persuades his readers by using three types of persuasion, ethos, pathos, and logos. Pathos is the one that appeals the most to the reader. Dr. King's ejective use of persuasive language enabled him to move his readers to open up their minds to see true racial injustice being presented by the clergymen. The letter Dr. King wrote was to the clergyman and to who ever read the paper when the letter got published. Nowadays, people would read the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" if they wanted to know information about Martin Luther King and segregation in Alabama. This letter is very powerful and has a lot of meaning to African Americans and now to everybody.

In 1963, segregation was prominent and very much a part of life. This time period was perhaps one of the high points for segregation resolution. In January of 1963, George Wallace gave his inaugural speech for the running of mayor of Birmingham, Alabama stating; "Segregation now, segregation forever," and then later on he asked the people to forgive him. On April 12, 1963 a letter titled "The Call of Unity," was published in an Alabama newspaper. This letter's purpose was an appeal for racial problems in Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was imprisoned on April 12, 1963 for contempt of court and for parading without a permit. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16, 1963 in response to a statement that eight white clergymen had made criticizing his presence and action. The clergymen said, "His present activities were unwise and untimely." The law enforcement was against the African Americans, and horrible things would happen to any African Americans who would protest or showed any type of rebellious spirit. In his letter Dr. King said, "There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation." How could anybody do such a thing like that!

Martin Luther King Jr. was President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and it operating out of every southern state. They have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the southern states, one of them being the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Martin Luther King kept putting off the protest because he was waiting for just the right time. Dr. King said, "Justice too long delayed was justice denied." Dr King was saying that do not wait too long because it will never get done or approved. Dr. King agreed with a saying from St. Augustine, "that an unjust law is no law at all." Dr. King also said, "An unjust law is a code that a majority group compels a minority group to obey but, does not making binding on itself." Dr. King, want all people to know that an unjust law is not fair to the minority, because the majority did not have to abide by that law.

Martin Luther King Jr. uses ethos throughout his letter. One of the examples, Dr. King said, "Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Martin Luther King Jr. was giving credibility to these people by saying they have quoted was the right way to live by and even though African Americans were being treated wrong, no matter what, they should treat others well and with respect. Another Example was Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slaves and half free."Martin Luther King Jr. was showing people that it was not only African Americans that were concerned and fighting for a change but there were non African Americans and political figures that agreed with them. Dr. King also credited people like Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Anna Braden, and Sarah Patton Boyle who wrote about the struggles the Africa Americans were having and how others have marched down streets with him. He also quoted Adolf Hitler, the Hungarian freedom fighters, and the Jews. Dr. King was saying that it was not right how it was illegal to treat other people or other races so bad.

Martin Luther King Jr. also uses logos in his letter to persuade the clergymen to think about what he was saying. For example, when Dr. King said, "We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "Legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungry was "illegal." It was "Illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so I am sure, had I lived in Germany

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