Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed due to his non-violence demonstrations against injustice and race discrimination at Birmingham. He wrote the ‘Letter from Birmingham jail’ on April 16 1963, to his eight white Clergymen from Birmingham Prison to respond the statement given by eight clergymen in the newspaper that is ‘call for unity’. By writing this letter Dr. King showing himself to the affinity with suffering African American community. He had written this letter to establish himself in the authority of legitimate in the front of audience to justify his arguments to defend organizational nonviolence strategies.
One of the most important subjects of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We all need to know the effectiveness of strategies used to overcome or completely stop the injustice and nonviolence behavior.
Dr. Martin Luther King used lot of rhetorical appeal in his ‘Letter from Birmingham jail’, to persuade his audience, which included Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
He started his letter by using rhetorical appeal to establish his creditability by ethos to the subject matter of injustice, nonviolence strategies and race discrimination. By saying that, ‘My dear fellow Clergymen’, Dr. King keeping himself to the same stage of other Clergymen by assuming he was one of them by indicated that he was not an outsider. Dr. King says, ” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
We have some Eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates’. The motive to giving introduction of himself is to establish credibility in eyes of his audience as a citizen of United States. He talked about where he got the authority to stop injustice and gives another reason to his audience why he is in Birmingham by saying that, ‘ I am here because I have organizational ties here. But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here’.
Dr. king says that, ‘Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation’. Dr. king giving the evidence of how Negroes suffered from injustice and how they were threatened by bombing. Then Dr. King appeal to pathos by saying that, ‘ when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Fun town is closed to colored children’, in this paragraph Dr. King was trying to make us feel the pain what he felt when they were go through in those times. This paragraph is full of emotion to attract the attention of audience. All this in paragraph are the hard, brutal facts of those time.