The Civil Rights Movement : James Baldwin Faced William F. Martin Luther King Jr.

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In 1965, James Baldwin faced William F. Buckley in a debate at the Cambridge Union Society in Cambridge University. The topic of the discussion was whether “the American Dream [was] achieved at the expense of the American Negro.” The African American Civil Rights Movement occurred at this time and Martin Luther King Jr. recently led a demonstration in Selma, Alabama. Understanding that the debate took place at the same time of the Civil Rights Movement adds more weight to the discussion as the matter of black rights was a pressing concern. was a pressing concern for the rights of the black community. In the debate at the Cambridge Union Society, Baldwin and Buckley discuss the matter of whether the American Dream was achieved at the expense of African Americans. Based on his use of rhetorical strategies, such as pathos, Baldwin presents a more persuasive argument at the debate in Cambridge University. Within the first few minutes, Baldwin makes his claim clear in agreeing with the notion that the American Dream was achieved at the expense of African Americans. Already, there appears to be an appeal based on Baldwin’s character and credibility. As a matter of fact, Baldwin appears to use a sophisticated accent and relates himself to Jeremiah, who is a major prophet of the bible. Baldwin utilizes an appeal to ethos, as he establishes himself as one with prophet-like character and credibility. He says: “I find myself, not for the first time, in the position of a kind of…

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