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Ethos- Letter from Birmingham Jail
Transcript of Ethos- Letter from Birmingham Jail
Subject : His letter is to state the reason why he is in Birmingham for trying to change segregation as social justice and his use of civil disobedience as an instrument of freedom.
Martin Luther King Jr. appeals to Ethos by having his audience understand him in his role as a religous leader. His image as a religous figure tends to be seen as moral, trustworthy, and believeable. In addition, MLK references teachings from renowned Greek philosophers such as Socrates, further establishing his credibility to morals and common sense. Dr. King addresses his audience with by treating them as equals in status and stature. This is significant due to the fact that MLK is in jail at the time he wrote this letter, and that this was a response to religous leaders that were white during a time of racial turmoil.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Ethos- "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
Addresses audience with, "My fellow Clergymen". (203)
"Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal..."(206)
"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." (204)
Speaker: Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and an American Baptist minister. He was a powerful preacher, speech writer, and author.
Purpose: Encourage Civil Disobedience, or a form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral or and/or unjust.
Audience: The Clergymen and supporters of the civil rights movement.
Occasion: Written in Birmingham Jail in 1963, addressing the nonviolent protests, unjust laws and the unfortunate leadership of the Clergymen.
"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". (203)
"You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation". (206)
"One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust". (208)