Rhetorical Analysis Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Dr. Martin Luther King was a well-known man and there was a specific reason he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. King wanted to change the way the public viewed what him and the other freedom fighters were fighting for. He wanted them to understand why the freedom fighters engaged in nonviolent sit-ins. King wanted the people that were against him to understand what the difference between being morally right and legally right was. However, in his speech it is clear that he was not the most effective rhetoric or persuasive writer, due to the fact that he didn’t use Logos within his writing.
Dr. Martin Luther King was a credible speaker and writer during the equal rights movement. So in his letter from Birmingham Jail he already established
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King wrote the more a person can see how he appeals to people’s emotions. King is good at taking his argument and using pathos to make the reader believe that his argument is the only truth. At one point he uses the fact that the police are beating innocent people who are trying to “preserve peace” and he says it in a way that makes reader’s feel sorry for all the people that are being hurt. He plays on people natural empathy for other human beings and gets them to feel like they should act. The way he does this is by commenting on how someone commended the Birmingham police. His comment is as follows “You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping ‘order’ and ‘preventing violence’. I don’t believe you would so quickly commend the policemen if you would observe their ugly inhuman treatment or Negros” (King 5). The person that he is responding to has said that the police did a great job at keeping the peace, and Dr. King responds by saying if you were there and you could see how they are treating the “Negros” in the jail you would be appalled. Dr.King then goes into further detail saying “ if you had seen its angry violent dogs literally biting six un armed, nonviolent Negros” he also adds “if you would watch them push and curse old negro women and young negro girls; if you would see how them slap and kick old negro men and young boys … refusing to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together” (King …show more content…
king is alright but he does not appeal to logos very often. Throughout his article his main premises are that the treatment of the African American men and women at the time was immoral and unjust. But he doesn’t use facts to support his claims. There are a couple times where he uses logos and one of those times is when he defines an unjust law by defining it as “an unjust law is a code inflicted upon a minority which that minority had no part in enacting or creating because it did not have the unhampered right to vote” (King 3). This describes the laws that were being placed into effect for the African Americans at the time. They did not have the “unhampered right to vote”, this is one of the very few times he uses logos in his writing. He doesn’t use statistics in his letter, the only time there is a number is when he is talking about the brutality of the police and that is more meant towards pathos and to get the reader of the letter to feel bad for how bad the police are treating the non-violent

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