Blog Response #1: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Leave your response to the prompt in the comments section of this post. Posts should be a minimum of 200 words and use correct spelling/grammar. I strongly encourage you to write your responses in Microsoft Word or another word processing software, so that you can edit before posting the response here.

This week you have to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” After reading the letter, answer the following prompt:

How does Dr. King incorporate ethos, pathos, and logos into his letter? Provide an example of each using quotations/paraphrases from the text.

Your response is worth 10 points and is due at 3:30 pm on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

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25 thoughts on “Blog Response #1: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

  1. ​Hello Danielle,

    I cannot find the ​question for the Proposal assignment in my email. Could you please send it to me?

    Thank you

  2. Dr. King was one of the greatest speakers of all time. He had power in his voice, and strength in his words. His thoughts and ideas moved masses. With such an ability to speak, He had the same amount of talent with the power of persuasion. He tackled both Logos and Pathos in his letter when he said, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers.” This example strengthened his letters argument. He follows with his use of ethos when he says, “I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle.” Using white names that back up the movement is a strong credible source when trying to sway the minds of Dr.King’s audience.

  3. In Martin Luther King’s, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos to prove the point that direct action must be taken in Birmingham to create racial equality for the black community there. Martin Luther King Jr. utilized ethos by comparing how he had to leave Atlanta to Birmingham “…just as the Apostle Paul left his village…and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ”. The biblical references help establish credibility because the words of the bible are highly respected and followed. Martin Luther King Jr. also used pathos to appeal to his audience by appealing to the audience’s empathy for the suffering of other human beings.
    The audience is able to feel empathy for the Birmingham black community because of the examples he provides of the conditions suffered by the black community in Birmingham. For example, “[Birmingham’s] ugly record of brutality is widely known. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches…than in any other city in the nation.” And finally Martin Luther King Jr. employs logos by using logic to justify the demonstrations in Birmingham. He argued that logically direct action must be taken because of the fact “…that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative”

  4. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”

    Ethos:
    In his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr incorporated ethos by using some statements that are ethically appealing, such as “But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth”
    “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”
    “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.”
    “As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us.”

    Pathos:
    To enhance his argument, Martin Luther King also uses some languages that are emotional appealing. Most of his statements expresses his grieve for the blacks that are segregated. He uses statements like “It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.”
    “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
    “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But 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 Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.”

    Logos:
    Martin Luther King Junior also uses some logical to persuade his audience. Such as, “I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.”
    “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

    “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. 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. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case.”
    “As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.”
    “We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the byproduct of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.”
    “Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.”

    1. I’m kind of confused. I think we are suppose to make a comment or statement but not to write a whole paper on Pathos Ethos and Logos.

      In any case i thought all the aspects were covered. This is a masterful piece which blend the use of these art of writing

  5. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. uses the three methods of persuasion to argue his ideas to the clergymen. Through ethos, King establishes credibility and trust by providing evidence of the unjust treatment of Negroes within the United States justice system; “There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal faces of the case.” Likewise, he compares the outrageous situation in America to the political advancements in third-world nations in Asia and Africa.
    King also appeals to the logos method by explaining the difference between a just law and an unjust law in a simple manner, “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
    Finally, King uses pathos to evoke emotions of anger, sadness, and guilt as he describes the oppression of African-Americans. He does this by first comparing the unjust treatment of Negroes to other instances of cruelty such as the Holocaust in Germany. He also exposes the “ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food.”

  6. First off, this is a really powerful letter. It really felt like Dr. King was schooling the reader by using examples and citing reputable clergymen/people to really get his point across. King made great use of the argumentative appeals in his open letter. For example, for ethos, he explains that his leadership in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference gives him the credibility to fight segregation in each of the southern states. To shut down questions about his involvement in Alabama, he basically states that he was invited and has organizational ties to Birmingham and that’s why he’s there. Dr. King also makes great use of logical appeal to say why direct action is needed and is necessary now. In his quote, “The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.” he uses the comparison to other societies and countries to persuade the reader that the current situation is not good for black people so something needs to be done. Most importantly, and what really got my attention, was King’s empathy towards other African Americans. For example, he questions the reader by saying why wait when segregation is placing hard realities and burdens for black children. Furthermore, King points out that people can only endure for so much, that they have a moral right to disobey laws and to organize, which I completely agree with.

  7. Dr. King provides many examples of his credibility when it comes to the oppression that he and his people face. For example, he mentions the fact that he has been jailed for his protests. He speaks of all the times “[he has] heard the word ‘Wait!’” and people’s refusal to take action despite the fact they can see segregation in front of their faces. Dr. King also appeals to one’s emotions. In particular, there is a paragraph where he says he has seen his brothers lynched, seen the police “kick and kill [his] black brothers”, he has to explain to his six year old daughter cannot go to an “amusement park that has just been advertised on television”, and many more examples of the great struggles he faces daily as a “Negro” in America. Finally, Dr. King’s letter possesses a great deal of logic. He says things such as “there have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation”. Though, in stating this, Dr. King is appealing to one’s emotions, he states a cold, hard fact. He also quotes many well-known, intelligent people like St. Augustine and T.S. Elliot to define things like love and the goals of his movement. He also uses connections between the Civil Rights movement, Paul the Evangelist, and Thomas Jefferson to prove that his movement is not just one of political extremists, but those who are “creative extremists” looking to go beyond the social norm.

  8. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a very powerful piece of literature, and one of the reasons that it is so is not only because of the cause that he is apart of but also the eloquence of his words. He greatly uses and incorporates the argumentative appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos to get his points across in this letter. For pathos, He uses great quotations and examples of the injustices that were taking place. “We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But 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 Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’; when your first name becomes ‘nigger,’ your middle name becomes ‘boy’ (however old you are) and your last name become ‘John,’ and your wife and mother are never given the respected title ‘Mrs.’; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” The above excerpt of the letter, I believe, is the best example of pathos and what personally tugged at my emotions the most. It was so powerful I couldn’t even take it apart, I had to use it all. White people, and even myself, did not and have not faced the injustices that African Americans at that time were facing. The examples that he was using were so straightforward and awful, but they were not even close on a scale of atrocities that they dealt with. There were a lot of references in his letter that tied into the logos appeal, with most of them referencing the Bible and Christianity. For example,
    “. . . Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” Is a quote that he uses in order to help those that find his actions too extreme some sense as to what he’s doing and why his actions are just and called for. He also references famous indiviuals such as president Abraham Lincoln with, “This nations cannot survive half slave half free”, Thomas Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal”, and St. Augustine’s “an unjustaw is no law at all.” To make all of this information credible, he talks about his background and his authority to say the things that he is saying. “I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” 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.” All in all, MLKJ is pretty badass and awesome. How he uses those appeals is pretty badass too.

  9. In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, he uses a mixture ethos, pathos, and logos in his argument. When using ethos, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. claimed to “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.” This provides a since of credibility to Dr. King, for being the president of such a widespread organization. When using pathos, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writes “As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us” to describe the organization’s feelings on the broken promises of the merchants. This leads to a sense of sympathy for the organization in the reader, as most have also experienced the disappointment of a broken promise. When using logos, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explains that “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; [self-purification]; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.” This adds credibility to the letter and the actions of the organization, as it shows the reasoning behind them to be rational.

  10. Dr. King uses pathos as the guiding theme in his letter. He builds upon this by using ethos to give a foundation to his passionate argument. Without a foundation of character, some could have dismissed him as just an over zealous protestor. The call for change cannot be through road of reasoning, it must be felt in every corner of the nation; as well as within the mind and heart.

    He merges the two argumenative themes together seemlessly in this quote, “I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: ‘Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.’ ”. The reference to the laws and acknowledging the fact that there has been a push for compliance to the laws, however laws are only good when the masses obey them. This method of using laws as ethos to convince and then emphasizing morality to persuade creates the synergy needed for paradigm destabilization.

    While the passion and pain that he has presented in this letter is very heartrending, Dr. King knows that one mode of argument will not pierce the veil of bigotry. Dr. King said, “Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race”. These provoking thoughts led by emotion, structured by logic, and spread through reason demonstrate the urgency for change and the wrong doings of a distorted society.

  11. Because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was such an influential leader he often times had to use rhetoric. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” he used pathos, logos, and, ethos to appeal to his readers. In the second paragraph of the letter Dr. King is explaining to his readers why he is in Birmingham and he uses ethos to do so. He stated “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.” This helps his readers understand how reputable he is in many cities. Dr. King uses logos when he talks about the racial injustice in Birmingham by stating, “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. 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. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case.” Murdering of black people and police brutality is often times when pathos comes into play because of how often it happens. “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dart of segregation to say, “Wait.” But 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…” is an example of pathos in Dr. Kings letter.

  12. Dr. King was an activist who wanted freedom for him and all of the oppressed. He mastered his sentence structures and ability to speak to keep it up to par with the white politicians who were either against him or didn’t mind him at all. His ethos was ideal in the way he explained each scenario as to why the association couldn’t wait to have direct action. He also being the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference gives a credible source for the information given. Being a pastor as well, he was much contact with the community and knows how people react to the oppression from hateful cops and denied access to parks, motels and diners. His use of pathos was also remarkable and saddening to read. Bringing up the past moments where he had to explain to his daughter why they couldn’t go to the park and to his son asking him why people were mean to him just because of the way he looked was an emotional hit to anyone. The use of logos in which he explained how it is civil to follow just laws, as well as it is civil to not follow unjust laws made sense and really helped the argument as to why they are using direct action and protests.

  13. Khalil Abdul-Waheed
    ENGL 1102
    January 22, 2015
    Letter from a Birmingham Jail Response

    In the letter, Dr. King enumerates the reasons why he is imprisoned in jail in response to criticism from other ministers that his civil rights demonstrations were “unwise and untimely”. Due to its explanatory nature, Dr. King primarily utilizes logos and ethos in his letter, however there are also elements of pathos. The strongest evidence of ethos in his argument is the very fact that he argues from the position of being imprisoned while demonstrating for the rights of African-Americans. He does not speak from a spectator’s angle. Also, as leader of the SCLC, an organization devoted to the pursuit of civil rights, he also receives credence for his words and actions. Pathos is used by Dr. King when he speaks about all of the suffering that African-Americans have endured in their centuries long quest for basic rights. He asserts that “an oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever”. Logic is the primary tool here. Dr. King argues that there was no other alternative for the discriminated against population of Birmingham to pursue their rights except through “direct action”. He backs this up by saying that “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts…; negotiation; self- purification; and direct action.” All other avenues were exhausted beforehand. With regards to the clergy’s stagnant direct activities concerning civil rights, and also to white moderates who claim to support them, Dr. King essentially calls them out by saying that failing to commit or actively support a movement against a problem makes you part of that problem, simply through remaining stagnant.

  14. In his Birmingham Letter, Dr. King mentions how he is “compelled to carry the gospel of freedom” which utilizes pathos and logos- especially for those who are religious. King also asserts bombings and injustices solely targeting African Americans which further exemplify logos. Dr. King uses ethos by holding positions such as a civil rights activist/leader and a preacher. Furthermore, his credibility is solidified with the use of his biblical references. King uses topics such as segregation, bombings, and the use of the “N” word as an immense amount of pathos that informs and captivates the reader. Similarly, King provides concrete examples of just and unjust laws: “an unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal.” These unjust laws include laws that hinder minorities: no right to vote, segregation, etc. Dr. Martin Luther King did an excellent job at keeping his followers strong, independent, and hopeful. After finding out Dr. King was incarcerated, civil rights activists became less fearful, resilient, and being arrested was not as big of a deal. It’s amazing how Dr. King was able to keep faith alive and lead from behind bars.

  15. In his letter written to 8 clergymen who criticized his involvement and arrest for non-violent protests in Birmingham, Dr. King seamlessly integrated all of the rhetorical appeals from the very beginning.

    The letter opens with “My Dear Fellow Clergymen” which establishes that he is their equal…they are all men of God. Throughout his letter he demonstrates knowledge of the bible and early christian struggle which establishes credibility in the eyes of those reading. About half way through the paragraph that begins “Oppressed people..,” Dr. King quotes many respected men such as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and John Bunyan which further added to his trustworthiness. When he talks about purifying oneself before getting involved in a non-violent direct action campaign, he further establishes his credibility. There are numerous other instances of ethical appeals within this letter.

    The language Dr. King uses when describing the oppression of people of color creates pathos. One example is the phrase “smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” He goes on to ask how you explain to your children why they can’t to an amusement park or “..why do white people treat colored people so mean?” He speaks of “living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments” because of his skin color. This all stirs up the reader’s emotions thus creating an effective appeal of pathos.

    Dr. King’s argument was carefully crafted. Much of the letter was based on logic. He gives a logically argument as to why he is in Birmingham. He was invited, and he has organizational ties there. (He was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference). Because he recognizes that all communities are interrelated, he couldn’t sit idly by in Atlanta as people were facing injustice in Birmingham. He goes on to explain the four basic steps in any non-violent campaign.

    I think my favorite logical appeal is the following. “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?” This is used in a larger appeal to illustrate that unjust laws, demeaning laws that were not voted on by the very citizens they affect, are immoral and one has the duty to disobey them.

    Dr. King was a very persuasive speaker/writer. He effectively uses ethos, pathos, and logos at every turn. It is no wonder that he was such a great leader with a far reaching legacy!

  16. Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is an excellent example of how to effectively use logos, pathos and ethos when arguing your case.

    As an “outsider,” Dr. King had to establish not only why he is in Birmingham but also how Birmingham’s issues are the country’s issues. He laid out his credentials throughout his letters, starting with his role as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was working with the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, to his status of minister who was raised in the ministry. Another tactic that he uses is to draw comparisons between his organization’s tactics and other well respected figures and movements in history. He uses biblical references, mostly focusing on Jesus’s role as an extremist for what was right, figures defying man’s law when it contradicts moral law and even how the Christians were also considered “outside agitators” who “disturbed the peace.” He also drew heavily from American history in comparing to Jefferson, Lincoln and even the Boston Tea Party.

    With his credentials laid clear, it gives merit to the other arguments contained throughout the letter. Dr. King stressed the logic behind not being able to sit back and watch injustice served anywhere. Birmingham was a prime target because of its reputation as the most segregated city with an abysmal record of human rights violations. He cited cases in which justice was not served based on the color of the victim’s skin. Several times he stressed the distinction between civilly defying laws based on their moral failings yet upholding laws which are uniformly applied to all races. He compared unjust laws to holding the victim accountable for the perpetrator’s actions in order to maintain the status quo. To uphold this standard and not push for rights would cause many young black people to move toward the more violent movements for action.

    Dr. King had an amazing ability to create emotion and use this emotion to make people take a closer look at their motivations. He drew heavily on emotion to ensure that his readers understood they mental pain inflicted on black Americans through lynching, police brutality, children being denied basics based on the color of their skin, not being assured of a place to sleep when traveling, going through life being given derogatory names as if these were these names were your birthright and the existential battle of living with “nobodiness.”

    Several times, Dr. King used religious emotion to drive home his points. As mentioned before, he used emotionally charged language to show how the early Christians fought much the same fight as he was currently. Over and over he used pathos to question what the churches in Birmingham were supporting, the status quo or integration “because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.”

  17. Letter from Birmingham Jail Response
    I found Dr. Martin Luther King letter very passionate and informative. In the letter I was able to find some of the pathos he incorporated. “Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas.” I thought as this as one of the most powerful sentences in the letter. “But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” These quotations show the emotion from Dr. King, as he acknowledges that he does not really care what anyone thinks of his work and the reason of his presence in the current city. “There have been more unsolved bombings of the Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation.” A form of logos Dr. King brings this fact to the reader’s attention to help persuade and help create a picture of the injustices done in the city. “I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference” Here is where Dr. King presents his credibility and background of what makes him qualified to express his thoughts and opinions about these events. “I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and Christian brother.” This is a quote that I believed showed the character of Dr. King convincing the people that he is not above anyone and wants to be seen as an equal.

  18. Martin Luther King Jr. was a very powerful and influence man, this plays into some of the reason why it was easy for him to display logos because it he himself is a very creditable source which makes his logic more easily comprehended. Also he uses biblical references to aid him when you think about ethos. This can be read in the third paragraph where he references eighth-century prophets and the Apostle Paul. This shows his character as someone who is man of GOD and peace. Nonetheless, many people did not agree with his ethics but they were undoubtedly effective and impactful. As far as logos this can be easily seen in the third to last paragraph where he says “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The urge for freedom will eventually come.” This statement is very true and contains plenty of logic because throughout history just about every group that has been oppressed has fought for justice. So it is safe to assume that in any future conflict the same cycle will occur. Pathos is something that is evident throughout the entire paper and can also be seen when looking back at the life of Dr. King. He was a very passionate man and it oozed out of him. To do what he did he had to be a very patient man and strong willed man, I think that speaks for itself when you’re talking about pathos in reference to Dr. King and his letter.

  19. In the Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, an important leader in the Civil Rights Movement, defends his ideas about the non-violent strategy used to combat racism and his moral responsibility to break unjust laws. Being the remarkably smart man that he was, Dr. King’s letter was flooded with many literary devices, most noticeably ethos, logos, and pathos. From the salutation, where Dr. King addresses the white religious leader by saying, ‘My Dear Fellow Clergymen’ This blatant attempt goes to show how Dr. King sees them as an equal due to their religious positions and not any other aesthetic. Dr. King later enlist logos to further propel his argument, allowing for the audience to get an insight to his mental processes. He says, ‘In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.’ This simple step-by-step system is in which you would use for any type of revolution or rebellion, and at this time and place he was combating the forces of racism and was using the same steps anyone would use to conquer their enemies against them. In addition, Dr. King makes the audience feel his pain and agony utilizing pathos to tell stories where he states, “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;”. These vivid string of stories and occurrences tries to recreate the destruction of racism to a group of people and what they have come to find as a normal is a horrible life to live and must be changed. All in all, Dr. King uses all of these tools to convey his message of a non-violent war and his reasoning for his actions makes audience members support the movement because the entire letter is set up strategically to make you understand African-Americans and the various struggles they face for nothing more than the color of their skin and not their character.

  20. There are many instances in Dr. King’s letter where he incorporates ethos, logos, and pathos. In one instance where Dr. King incorporates logos is in the section where he explains the many injustices that takes place in Birmingham if you are colored. He states that in Birmingham “Negros have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than any other city in America.” These facts and use of logos supports his argument against the clergymen who are criticizing his movements. When Dr. King responds to the clergymen’s idea to just wait for their constitutional right, he uses examples of pathos to try to convince them through the feelings of injustices in the black community. He lists examples like “when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim” or “when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”” as an emotional appeal to why the black community cannot wait any longer for their justice. Ethos is shown throughout the letter because Dr. King has full credibility and authority over what he is writing about. He has experienced firsthand of the injustices in the black community as well as led the SCLC, an African-American civil rights organization.

  21. In his work Letter From a Birmingham Jail Reverend King uses strong logical arguments matched with his own credibility as a leader in the church community to try and convince his opponents that his actions were not in fact too soon, but rather past due. Dr. King begins his letter referencing back to biblical stories of descent among the oppressed. “Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, … so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.” By likening himself to these figures which represent a force for good he asserts the importance of his own cause, and the seriousness of the problem he faced. Dr. King also states in his letter that often his criticism goes unanswered, however when he states “But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.” he gives heed to the attitude of his audience, and attempts to gain their respect.
    The logic Dr. King uses in his letter is incredibly precise, and makes of the majority of his argument. As he begins to explain how he feels that the time to wait is far over he alludes to the past repeating itself. “But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms”. Going beyond this he highlights the steps taken in nonviolent protest; “there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.”
    The less prominent, but equally potent use of emotional stories bring the letter to a higher level of Dr. King’s personal, emotional connection with his cause. As he discusses the interactions between him and his children saying “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 Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?” it heightens the emotions of the reader as well.

  22. In the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. really expressed how he felt from his point of view as well as other Blacks. He expressed how he felt while before his arrest with silent protesting, while being arrested and now after being in jail. There are many instances where Dr. King uses ethos, pathos and logos in his letter. One way that Dr. King showed pathos in his letter was while expressing his opinion to the clergymen. He wanted to convince the clergymen how madly Blacks are being treated. He expressed how children will grow up bitter because they aren’t able to drink from the same water fountains as white people or even visit the same amusement parks as whites. This is known as sentimental approach because he was expressing how he feels from the heart; from the eyes of children.
    Dr. King uses a ethos approach when he said “My Dear fellow clergymen.” This approach used was to inform the men that they are human just as blacks and should be all treated the same. He attacked his character and made him realized how no one person is better than the next especially not because the color of their skin. That is not the way the God created us and that is not His plan for us. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. later expresses logos in his letter when illustrating to the clergymen logic information that comes from the bible. The same bible that they are reading especially the ones who call themselves “Christians”. He used quotes from the bible that tells everyone that we should all be treated equally and we just love our neighbors as you love yourself. Jesus wants nothing but for the world to show love to others like we love Him. But whites were not loving any other race except for their own. Dr. King wanted justice and inequality and not to negotiate with whites. He wanted his people to be treated the same and with the upmost respect.
    The saddest part about this letter is that every race outside of whites is still being treated unfair.

  23. Dr. Martin Luther King was undoubtedly one of the greatest orators this country has ever produced. He lived in an era where our country was about to make a drastic change. The Jim Crow south was losing political steam and the servitude of African- Americans reached a boiling point. In terms of ethos, Dr. King came from a very credible background. Not only was he a reverend, he was also the son of one. He was a family man, married with children. Therefore, when he was imprisoned, many of our countrymen became aware of the malpractices being exacted throughout the South. His imprisonment itself represents pathos. It speaks in volumes when a reverend, with a Ph.D., who practices nonviolence is incarcerated. There are several instances during in the letter where the usage of logos is evident. There are several instances in which he attempts to pacify the deep rooted racial hatred in the south by exemplifying the injustices taking place such as stores displaying racial signs, and comparing the sluggish rate America was taking towards ending segregation to how quick countries in Africa and Asia were gaining their political independence. Dr. King was a martyr and his legacy lives on. Who knows? Had it not been for him, there’s a possibility we would’ve still been drinking from separate water fountains and so forth.

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