Rhetorical Analysis Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The Civil Rights Movement spanned between 1954 and 1968 and encompassed social movements in the United States aiming to end racial segregation and discrimination against blacks. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South, relying mainly on peaceful protests and boycotts. Although he was a dedicated activist, King also had a gift for rhetoric; his skillful use of language energized supporters of the civil rights movement to continue to fight for justice. This talent was exemplified in 1963 during his incarceration in Birmingham, Alabama. While he was imprisoned, eight prominent Alabama clergymen published a statement in local newspapers urging blacks to withdraw …show more content…
effectively appeals to the white moderate and the white church to stand for racial justice by asserting his credibility, appealing to the shared love of religion, highlighting the need for constructive tension, and examining the difference between just and unjust …show more content…
King continuously demonstrates his respect and belief in the clergymen and the Christian faith throughout his letter by using formal diction and ethos. His tone is extremely polite and restrained; he aims to explain rather than to attack the clergymen. For example, the address he chooses, “My Dear Fellow Clergymen,” reveals his true feelings toward the clergymen (King 125). Although King has the right to write an angry rant, he instead focuses more on the need for brotherhood and chooses to subtly remind the clergymen they should all be united during the crisis in Birmingham. Dr. King also details his disappointment with the white church. He believes because of their respective faith the white church would be among their “strongest allies” primary allies to his movement, but instead some have been “outright opponents” or remained “silent,” therefore hindering the civil rights movement (King 133). Numerous southern religious leaders have condemned Civil Rights to a social movement, irrelevant to the church, causing Dr. King to “we[ep] over the laxity of the church” (134). Even so, he admits that the tears come from a place of deep, deep love for the church (King 134). Therefore, although King is hurting, he still admits that they are of one faith and his concern and love for the church has no boundaries. King justifies himself through religious means to leave no room for refutation, and his audience will have to begin to understand his

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