A letter from Birmingham Jail

A letter from Birmingham Jail, was written by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, while serving an eighty-day jail sentence in Birmingham. It was during this time when African Americans were actively against racial equality. King’s language defines this time and racial identity by words such as “negro.” His letter was condemnatory and a persuasive piece that aimed to convince every reader, especially, the clergymen that his course was justified. This paper is a summary of the King’s letter through analysis of its rhetorical devices such as Logos, Ethos and Pathos as condemnatory and persuasive tools.

Why direct action? King uses logos as a counterargument tool against the clergyman. He starts by supporting the fact that the people “had no alternative except to prepare for direct action.” He coins several logical fallacies, religious and historical evidences to justify this. He logically appeals to authorities when he refers to Thomas Jefferson, a person highly respected and says, “W...