Show MoreMartin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is an excellent example of an effective argument; it was written in response to an editorial addressing the issue of Negro demonstrations and segregation in Alabama at the time. He writes in a way that makes his argument approachable; he is not attacking his opposition, which consists of eight Alabama clergymen who wrote the editorial. This is illustrated in his opening sentence: “My dear Fellow Clergymen” (464). King was an activist for civil rights during this time, and came to Alabama to help out his fellow brothers that were facing opposition. He was concerned with the monologue rather than dialogue that was going on during this time in Alabama; where each side would talk about the…show more content…
Here the audience sees that King addresses the problem of “shallow understanding from people of good will,” saying that “lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection” (470). King proposes that these white moderates stop being passive and wait around; rather they take a stand either way. He incorporates credible sources, prime examples, and refutes any argument that the clergymen might have. King proves himself and his argument through examples, and he answers every aspect of the clergymen’s letter, making his argument a strong and informative one.
I have found that in argument I am more willing to negotiate and talk with another if they allow themselves to be open-minded, or criticized in their views. For example, when my friend Tyler and I were arguing over the meaning of predestination in the Bible, I would give him time to explain to me his thoughts. He believed that predestination as is stated in the Bible should be taken in the literal sense, that God chose people to become saved and therefore we as humans have no control over our salvation. In turn, he listened when I addressed my views on predestination, which consisted of my thoughts that predestination should be taken in a
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay
1266 Words6 Pages
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
A statement from eight white clergymen from Alabama prompted Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail”. This statement criticized Kings actions of non-violent protests against racial segregation and the injustice of unequal civil rights in America (Carpenter elt al.). The eight clergymen considered Birmingham to be “their” town and King was disrupting the “Law and Order and Common Sense” established in coping with racial issues in Alabama during this time (Carpenter elt al. par 1). These clergymen considered King an “outsider” and describe his actions as “unwise and untimely” (Carpenter elt al. par 3). This statement suggests that there is an appropriate time…show more content…
Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s letter was influential in inspiring and ultimately altering societal attitude on racial issues. He used a creative use of language that addresses any plausible audience including: the clergymen, the religious moderates, the equal rights supporters and the oppressed black community. The use of famous icons, religious leaders, and traditional scholars as references provided a multitude of examples that clearly illustrated King’s key points. Moreover, King carefully analyzed the duplicity of racial segregation through examples of “civil disobedience” among important historical icons valued in society (King par 21). In doing this King is able to utilize Luke’s, three-dimensional approach and tilt the power dynamic in his favor. It is Luke’s political strategy that helps King to create the desired power shift. His approach forces his audience to look beyond the surface (one-dimensional view), into the First-Amendment rights to protest (second-dimensional view), and further into the behavior that oppresses and segregates the black community (third-dimensional view) (Lukes). King creates parallels and invokes images that are familiar to his audience. In particular, in aims these images to the White Anglo Saxon society by creating the awareness of their hypocrisy. King uses the examples of Shadrach, Meschack and Abendego, who