The letter was written by Martin Luther King Jr addressed to the eight clergy men
following his arrest together with some of his followers in protest to the law of segregation. He
wrote the letter in response to their critic of his actions where they found his actions unwise and
untimely. He referred to the clergy men as men of genuine good will and therefore used logos to
explain to them the steps they followed before they engaged in non-violent direct actions. Being
aware of the clergy men’s understanding of the civil process he outlined the reason behind every
step hoping they would be able to reason with him. He was very rhetoric in his outline of the
measures he took to ensure that all his followers engage in a non-violent protest.
He explained his choice of the areas they would gather and the reason behind his timing.
He expressed how they had postponed the demonstrations for long and he had nothing against
the new administration, they were however segregationists also and likely to observe the status
quo. Therefore he found no reason to postpone the direct actions again. He supported this reason
explaining how they had pushed for a dialogue and they were always told to wait which he said
meant no. Martin Luther King Jr expressed how they had run out of patience because
Birmingham was the most highly segregated city in the United States and the privileged groups
could not give away the privileges voluntarily.
Mr. Martin Luther King Jr applied pathos to make his feelings and those of his fellow
black men known to the clergy men. He expressed his pain of having to sleep in a car because
there were no motels that could accommodate black people. He strongly expressed how he could
not turn his eyes while his mother, his brothers and sisters were being mistreated. He justified his
presence in Birmingham saying his mission as president of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference called for him to be there on official purpose as they needed his help. He also
stresses that being an American citizen he has a right to be in any city. He explained how he
lacked words to explain to his children why they could not access some facilities and why they
were being treated differently. He tried to make the clergy men to connect with his feelings and
be humane about the matters affecting the black people.
Martin Luther King Jr used ethos to respond to the clergy men’s concern. As a human
rights activist and a church leader, he felt it was his responsibility to address the matters affecting
his people. In his response to their concerns he said” I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be
concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
everywhere” (Martin Luther King Jr, 78).His position made him influential enough to be able to
connect with the black masses, he felt it was ideal for them to demand for justice even if they
may not see it now, the future generations will enjoy a democratic nation where the blacks are
not discriminated and the police brutality against the blacks will be called off.
Turner, Rhetorical Analysis Example, wr1ter.com, 2019
King, The Atlantic Monthly; The Negro Is Your Brother, Volume 212, No. 2; pages 78 – 88.
Norton, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Quizlet, nd