Rhetorical Analysis Of Lyndon B Johnson's We Shall Overcome

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Violence erupted during an African American led protest against discrimination in Selma, Alabama. This protest was a way for African Americans to voice their opinions and frustration. African Americans may have had the right to vote on paper, but were ultimately viewed as an inferior race. African Americans were denied several civil rights due to the color of their skin. As the leader of America, Lyndon B. Johnson decided to publicly address the issue in Washington D.C. on March 15, 1965 with his speech, “We Shall Overcome”. Johnson’s message is clear. He believes the American people can overcome the racial inequality which has long divided the nation. Specifically, he believes unity, not violence, will bring an end to injustice. Throughout …show more content…
He uses a specific example of inequality to help the audience understand the extent to which inequality exists. Johnson describes a way African Americans are denied the right to vote, “The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent” (Johnson 2). African Americans being told, “the day is wrong” or the “hour is late,” proves a problem exists. He is conveying that some people will do anything to prevent African Americans from voting. This injustice causes the audience to feel sympathetic toward anyone who is discriminated against. A white person would feel sorry because they too have that freedom, just like the blacks, but they have never been discriminated in a way that prevents them from carrying out that right. Johnson continues to promote change through evoking sympathy, when he points out another way African Americans are being denied their 15th Amendment right by stating, “For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show white skin” (Johnson 3). Johnson feels that the color of a person’s skin is still a major factor in society. The American people, are biased and discriminatory even though African Americans were given the same rights as White Americans. The only difference being the color of their skin. Uncovering the struggle of black Americans promotes a sense of empathy towards them. it evokes, the sympathy of anyone who has ever been discriminated against. This persuasive pathos causes people to want the unfair discrimination to stop and to support Johnson’s change. Pathos allows Johnson to reach to the American people who are unaware or refuse to acknowledge the hardships those of a different skin color face in their

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