King`s comprehensive utilization of appeals

King’scomprehensive utilization of appeals

For the duration of his eight days in prison, Martin Luther King Jr.wrote a landmark missive in response to a public appeal foragreement, concern, and caution issued by eight white ministers ofthe South. King composed the letter as a way of responding to callsby the clergymen that the remonstrations, which King held were hastyand impulsive. In fact, the ministers asserted that King’s actionsand those of his cohorts were “unwise and untimely” (79). Theclergymen felt that King was prying in their interaction thus, inthe dispatch King writes that he had every liberty to fight or speakagainst any type of unfairness in the country. Although a response tothe call for agreement or unanimity, King’s missive involves anassertion that King would fight cultural or racial injustice. Infact, King exemplifies his reasoning using appeals of ethos, pathos,and logos to define the harms that racial unfairness cultivated andcontinues to cultivate among the Americans. In this regards, thediscourse will offer a context on the effectiveness of the letter inappealing to the audience and the critics of the day.

Against this backdrop, the letter reacts or responds to matters ofradicalism and unanimity to an oppressive society to a great degree.The note appeals to the audience to reconsider their claims that Kingis a revolutionary or extremist person. King opines that peopleregarded early reformers such as Jesus Christ, Paul, and ThomasJefferson as extremist and at times labeled them as going against thenorms of the society. In addition, the letter pleas to people toconsider their stand on what they call untimely actions of King toask for equality. King asserts, “I am mindful of theinterrelatedness of all societies and I cannot sit frivolously andfails to cultivate a concerned look as unfairness anywhere is athreat to impartiality everywhere” (80). In fact, King questionsthe ministers objections that King’s untimely and unwise inquiriesinto an equal society inhibits the struggle for a united America asharmony among all people would conform to the best practices of theworld. However, King illustrates how, for example, the whiteministers failed to help him only for them to resist his calls forunity and equality (86). As such, King grasps the emotions and mindsof his audience as he reveals that the people against his calls havefailed to help him in the past.

On the other hand, the dispatch is a reaction to the denigrationexposed by eight renowned white ministers. In the letter, Kingarticulates his position or viewpoint toward inequality and racialisolation through pleas of pathos, ethos, and logos. In fact, Gistand Whitehead assert that King uses scenarios of the struggle for anequal society and his position in the struggle to appeal to theaudience (11). In addition, to show King’s condemnation to theclergymen’s’ “calls for harmony” the letter informs thereader on the dissimilar and imperative proceedings that occurred in1963 in Birmingham and other parts of America. Most prominently, thelandmark missive illustrates the events that affected the fightagainst racial injustice. By illustrating the events, King shows thereluctance of some members of the church, especially those who havecriticized his calls to join the calls for an end to the unfairness(Kaplan 120). King discusses the demonstrations that rocked Americaas well as offers a parallel discourse to historical injustices thathave happened elsewhere with a close statement to the people whosought justice for the underprivileged in those circumstances. Assuch, the letter establishes the viewpoint that King took throughoutthe Civil Rights movement.

In addition, the question of slavery makes a huge constituent ofAmerica’s past background as it left a legacy of Black people assubhuman thus, the development of logic of racial prejudice. Assuch, King raises the issues of slavery and the Civil War as well astheir contribution to the calls for fairness among all Americans.Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, the appalling acts ofaggression on black people encouraged the Americans. In addition,Gist and Whitehead contend, “The messages of deference for dignityinspired the Americans thus, King illustrates these acts ofaggressions and deference for dignity, which appeals to the audiencegreatly” (9). In the correspondence, King portrays the past ofBirmingham as one that has failed to endure black people. Such anaccount helps to show the letter as a revelation of the ills directedagainst the blacks thus, the audiences will mostly support King’scalls after reading the letter. In fact, King articulates Birminghamas the most deeply secluded city in America where blacks haveencountered inappropriate unfairness for long periods.

On the other hand, the letter illustrates acts of aggressionparticularly in Birmingham, but King appeals to citizens for calm andcall for a cohesive America that reveres the liberties of all people.In view of the acts of hostility that occurred in 1963 and King’scorrespondence, it is significant to note that King calls for thepreeminent and ethical practices of commitment that revere the civilliberties of all people. As such, Gist and Whitehead assert, “Kingdoes not consider direct events or measures of retaliation, butselects a continuous action of commitment” (8). Fundamentally, Kingelucidates to the clergymen his intention of selecting a direct meansof commitment, which is to cultivate a nation so watershed-filledthat it would open doors for arbitration (King 82). King’s wordsdescribe his fastidiousness of egalitarianism and the rights-movementin which, he believes a democratic society made of non-viciousdevotion, inclusivity, and interculturality.

Reading the letter through, one can only envisage King’s responseto the features of the Civil Rights crusade, and his idea ofcomprehension in the society. The communication indicates King as aperson who understands the prominence of man’s poise towards oneanother, the amalgamation of fairness in the society, and iridescentdemocracy that fuses all facets of man. In fact, reading the letterthrough, one sees one man’s view to the difficulties facing theAmericans during 1960s, and his appeals for unity. As such, theletter comes out as a strong appeal to the audience to respect thedignity of people and put King’s appeal into consideration.

I have noticed that the King has appealed to his audience effectivelyby using events to as a means of logic appeal and appealing topeople’s emotions by touching on the oppression directed towardsthe blacks. On the other hand, the letter describes the eventsleading to the civil-rights movement and the reactions of the people. In this regards, King uses the letter as a weapon to deliver themissive of civil rights through a rhetoric style therefore, theletter designates the significance and the context of civil rights.Civil rights crusades are important tools to express representativemessages of harmony, dignity, deference for people, and fight againstall forms of injustices.

On the other hand, civil rights crusades necessitate the use ofremonstrations and movements to express messages of harmony thus,the question of civil rights remains a significant component ofequality. In this regards, I have noted that the letter has expresslytouched on the issue of human rights to appeal to all peopleirrespective of their race. Additionally, Kaplan affirms, “Civilrights movements are noteworthy to the development of equality inrepublics where a segment of people fails to comprehend the knowledgebehind inclusivity and acceptance” (119). Definitely, the dispatchpronounces the proceedings of violence that faced mainstream blacksin America at the period thus, a need for a crusade that pushes forromanticism and interculturality. In this regards, the letter remainsrelevant even today due to its encompassment of issues affectingpeople, use of appeals, and its connection to people’s attributes.


Gist, Conra D., and Karsonya Wise Whitehead. &quotDeconstructing Dr.Martin Luther King`s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and theStrategy of Nonviolent Resistance.&quot Black History Bulletin 76.2(2013): 6-13.

Kaplan, Howard. &quotThe Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience: TheCase Behind King`s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.&quot SocialEducation 77.3 (2013): 117-121.

King, Martin Luther. &quotLetter from Birmingham Jail.&quot&nbspTheAtlantic Monthly&nbsp1 Aug. 1963: 78-88. Print.