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Copy of Letter from Birmingham Jail MLK GROUP 4

Rebecca Dias Star Emison Gadiella Gajer Period 4

Karen Gustin

on 15 September 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Letter from Birmingham Jail MLK GROUP 4

At first Martin Luther King Jr. does not accept that the clergymen refer to him as an extremist. He realizes extremist is a good term because all the religious men that the clergymen look up to are extremists.
The clergymen respect MLK ideas of equality but do not support the tactics he uses to bring about change because they believe his tactics will turn out to be violent.
MLK reveres the clergymen, but does not agree with their opinions of his tactics being that of an extremist.
The clergymen believe MLK's tactics are extremist.
Extremist or not?
MLK proves his credibility by mentioning some of the well known religious figures that these clergymen look up to and state that those religious leaders are extremists. MLK knows that men such as Jesus, Amos, and Martin Luther are highly honored and recognized by the clergy men so comparing himself to these specific extremists is logical. MLK states that in comparison to these religious men, he is far from extremist, MLK is leading a peaceful cause. He doesn't mind and is somewhat satisfied being called extremist because all the great men of religion are, but bringing them up just proves how much less extreme he is than them.
MLK is credible enough to say what his kind of people have to deal with. He mentions a group of his people that have dealt with segregation so much that they've just given up, and he mentions the other kind that have just had enough of racism and are fairly close to advocating violence. Both goups have been effected emotionally by the racism and segregation in the US.
MLK appeals to emotion when he brings up the fact that he stands in between two groups of African Americans. Both are effected by segregation in a devastating way, one group has given up and the other driven to violence. Because these are MLK's people it makes the clergymen want to sympathize with him. This is logical because his audience is clergymen, these men are supposed to be the kindest people of the community making them the most likely to be compassionate towards the fact that MLK's people are being damaged emotionally.
Rhetorical Analysis Triangle Diagrams
MLK describes 3 different ways people deal with the everyday racism in their society.
1. There are the people who have been disrespected so much by society that they have basically given up and just adjusted to segregation.
2.There are the people who simply cannot take it anymore and actually want to do something about it but deal with it in the wrong ways by almost siding with violence. (Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement)
3. And then theres MLK, who stands between these two groups, and wants to do something about it. He stands up for what he believes in by using words and nonviolent movements.
Paragrapgh 27
MLK stands between these two forces and tries to teach them that the way they protest is not the way to get things done.
He suggests that the better way to deal with how society treats african americans is the way he deals with it and how christians should deal with the situation. (He basically say nonviolence is a part of a christian's way of life)
ex: "I am grateful to G-d, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle."
MLK also suggests that if nonviolence wasnt such a huge part in christian life violence would emerge immensly throughout towns.
He sort of gives the clergymen a heads up that since no white man seems to notice their nonviolent efforts and if they continue to not notice this african americans will eventually turn to violence out of frustration and despair.
Paragraphs 28 and 29
MLK complains how blacks must release resentments and frustrations but in a way that is not violent but either no one ever listens to them or their acts are considered "violent."
He mentions acts that are not violent at all like prayer pilgrimages to the city hall and freedom rides and yet no one understands why they do so all they care about is categorizing them as violent.
He continues on about how if they are not heard through non violent ways then they will seek expression through violence - not because MLK will tell them to but because it is simply a repition of history. He makes it clear he is NOT threatening the clergymen.
MLK is astounded because he has only told his people to "channel their normal and healthy discontent into the creative outlet of of nonviolent direct action" (meaning if you want change do it through nonviolent acts) and now this is considered extremist.
Paragragh 30
MLK then acknowledges the clergymen he is quite satisfied that they called him an extremist because most of their religious figures like Amos, Paul, and Jesus were considered extremist
Although they were all extremists in different ways, they were all categorized as extremists. (hate, love, injustice, justice, etc.)
MLK suggests the nation might be in desperate need for an extremist.
Paragraph 31
MLK builds a strong argument against the clergymen when responding to their claims of him being an extremist. At first he explains how he was disappointed that his nonviolent efforts were sought as that of an extremist. Then he goes on say that maybe the label of extremist well fit him. King used examples of great extremists that the clergymen revere to help his argument. MLK did a great job in proving his point . He compared himself to the clergymen's religious figures by using the label the clergymen have given him "an extremist." Although the clergymen might not have liked that he was comparing himself to their religious figures, they all put it on themselves by calling him an extremist in the first place.
Overall Evaluation
Symbolic representation
This picture represents MLK as an extremist, pointing and shouting, it shows action and activity which is what the clergymen thought could lead into violent action. But in actuality, like the soft and mellow orange background, MLKs ideas and believes are that of nonviolent efforts.
Rhetorical Appeals

In the example of Jesus he uses he says ,"Was not Jesus an extremist for love: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

The purpose of him using examples from religion is to especially appeal to his audience, the clergymen. ALso, the Jesus quote he uses talks about loving your enemies, which is exactly what MLK does in his peaceful protest.
In paragraph 27 MLK appeals to emotion, he covers the topic of the effect of oppresion on his Negroe community. He states he is forced to stand between to sides of his brothers and sisters, who are both equally hurt and express that pain in different ways. This makes the audience sympathize

He says, "The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence."

The effect of this is it exaggerates the emotional damage. This community is very Christian and have values of nonviolence, the fact that oppresion can drive some of these religious men and women to violeence is a very big statement of the dangers of oppression.
MLK builds credibility mostly in paragraph 31, he compares hi,mself to highly regarded figures in religion. He suggests that men such as Jesus, Amos, and Paul are all extremists as well.
Rhetorical Strategies
In paragraph 31 he uses parallelisms, there are 4 sentences all beginning with "was not". Each sentence identifies a new extremist that is highly respected in society.

MLK says, "Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel:I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

The effect of beginning each sentence about a new extremist with "was not" is it makes the list of respected extremists in society seem endless. It makes it seem like all great men that brought about change were extremists.
In paragraph 30, MLK is asking the clergymen to let the black man make peaceful protests so he does not become violent. To do this he uses a long sentence with all the clauses starting with "let him".

MLK remarks, "So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides..."

The effect of starting every clause with "let him" and putting it in a long sentence not only provides sentence variety but also shows how unlimited the possibilities of peaceful
Paragraphs 27 - 31 Analysis
By: Gadiella Gajer, Rebecca Dias, and Star Emison
Full transcript