Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of the Civil Rights Movement received a newspaper containing A Call for Unity, written by a white clergymen and criticized his non-violent civil rights movement in Alabama. This (inspired?) King to write an open letter in response to the clergyman, and this eventually became a written masterpiece by King. In his letter, King utilizes rhetorical devices, in order to demonstrate to the audience his motives and beliefs and to persuade them to believe in him and the Civil Rights Movement.
MLK utilizes comparison in order to persuade the audience on why they should believe in him and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. He states some facts such as he is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he was invited to Alabama, therefore the accusation of him being an outsider coming in does not stand. King is also a reverend, and compares himself to the Apostle Paul, because he finds similarity in Paul and himself, who left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to far corners (lines 18-21), just like how King left his home in Atlanta to fight against injustice in Alabama. MLK uses ethical appeals when he uses Hitlerr’s notorious treatment to Jews as an example, and reminds the audience how that was considered legal back then. This shows that King can see the consequences of racism in history does not end well, and he intends to change the result before it is too late.
Martin Luther King Jr. appeals to the critics and readerr’s logic, making them think deeply by bringing up an opposing statement by the critics, and then uses reasoning to support his ideas in order to invalidate the white clergymanr’s argument. For example, in lines 69-76, King answers the critics questioning of using marches and direct actions to protest against segregation. He states that nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored (71-73). His actions is explained in such detail and in a way that is easy to understand from Kingr’s point of view that it would no longer make sense to agree with the critics.
King uses logical reasoning is when he references the Holocaust and Hitlerr’s mistreatment of Jews (line 181 to 185) (mentioned above or here or both?) King connects the corrupt definitions of legal and illegal in Germany during the Holocaust are similar to the definitions about segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. This appeals to the readers because it makes them to think deeply about the terrible Holocaust times and the treatment of Jews, and realize that the Jews and the African-Americans are being treated in a similar sense.
After clarifying statements made by the white clergyman, King appeals to the audiencer’s sense of justice to connect them on an emotional level. For example, in line 50, King states how the African-Americans are the victims of a broken promise (line 50) because the merchants did not stick to their promise on removing segregating signs around town. This appeals to the audiences pathos because everyone recognizes the despair feeling of a broken promise so it allows the critics and readers to connect with the African-Americans emotionally.
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