Essay on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1322 Words Oct 5th, 2016 6 Pages
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is possibly one of the most recognizable names in American History, and Letter from Birmingham Jail is one of the most powerful pieces of political rhetoric ever written. He was a civil rights leader throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, fighting against the unjust nonviolent methods such as protests. In 1963 he was arrested after protesting peacefully in Birmingham, Alabama, which was one of the most segregated areas of the south. Eight local clergymen questioned both his presence in the city and methods, calling it “unwise and untimely.” He responded with Letter from Birmingham Jail, which used a variety of rhetorical strategies in order to persuade his audience of the injustice of racial segregation. He supports abiding by laws, but feels that complying with unjust laws anywhere threatens justice everywhere. The purpose of this letter is to convince the critical clergymen that the time has come for action because he has waited long enough for racial equality. “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He is responding to religious leaders critical of him breaking the laws and just labeling him as a troublemaker. Martin Luther King uses the first person in his letter and addresses the reader as “you” and it shows that he supports the movement and actions that landed him in jail. In his letter, King defends his strategy of protesting using non-violence, because…

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