The Civil Rights Movement : Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay

1332 Words Oct 8th, 2016 6 Pages
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 their support from Martin Luther King Jr. and his demonstrations. Although they agreed with the necessity of desegregation, the clergymen believed that King’s demonstrations were “‘unwise and untimely’” and racial issues should be dealt with in courts (King 125). After being made aware of this statement, King wrote a letter in reply to the statement during his eleven-day incarceration. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” author Martin Luther King Jr. 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 laws.
Martin Luther King…

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