Racial injustice has marked the United States’ history by being the most captivating issue that persists even until today for African Americans. One of America’s greatest speakers, Martin Luther King Jr. , became the leading voice for this group, enforcing a societal change by making public speeches and peacefully protests.
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As a result, and in response to the white clergymen’s published criticism of his actions, Dr. King writes the Letter from Birmingham Jail to show them the negative effects segregation has on the African American group in order to encourage a societal change. Thus, in his letter, Dr. King emotionally persuades religious leaders and the white moderates by employing various examples of allusion, imagery, and rhetorical questions, which stem out from ethos, pathos, and logos to, ultimately, correct the audience’s mentality on segregation and to defend the nonviolent actions he takes in order to stand up against racial injustice.
In order to argue effectively about racial segregation, King relies on allusions and ethos not only to present himself knowledgeable and educated but also to appeal to different groups of people such as, but not limited to, the Christians, Jews, and activists. In other words, King writes to the clergymen but also attempts to speak to other groups of people to by attempting to relate to them. Furthermore, King uses biblical allusions to explain what he believes his role as a man of God is in the world and states, …just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the macedonian call for aid (King 1). Furthermore, King references Paul in order to demonstrate that just like Paul left everything behind to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to a location where God was unspoken of and fulfill his mission, King states that he too is willing to leave everything behind in order to speak of freedom spreading from Birmingham.
Furthermore, King believes he should respond to the call for aid by preaching about nonviolence actions to conclude the era of racial discrimination. By referring to the biblical texts, King cannot only connect with the clergymen and the religious majority but he also lead them to recognize their identity as Christians. Not only did Dr. King intend to talk to Christians, but also the Jewish majority by stating, To use the words of Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an “I-it” relationship for the “I-thou” relationship, and ends up relegating persons to the status of things (King 3). King relates to the Jewish community by referencing to the respected philosopher,
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