2 response to each student 75 minimum

2 response to each student 75 minimum

Remember that you must post two (75-word minimum) responses to receive a passing grade (7-10) for a discussion forum.

Enrico Saturnino

In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” MLK challenges nine main criticisms directed towards him during the racially-divided, 1960s era of segregation and Jim Crow. Throughout the letter, King immediately recognizes the rhetorical situation and establishes ethos by hierarchically going through each of the aforementioned criticisms in order. The first criticism towards him argues that it is not his place as an “outsider” to delve into the City of Birmingham’s business, but King immediately refutes that claim by stating that he is not only president of the Southern Christian Leadership conference, reinforcing his credibility, but also compares himself to the Biblical Apostle of Paul, feeling “compelled to carry the gospel of freedom” above and beyond any borders; this also gives him appeal to pathos. Another solid example of King’s well-structured counterargument happens later in another criticism as well, when he is thrown under the bus for demanding social justice while risking the provocation of violence; he asserts that this call to action is necessary and that whoever follows under him will need to compensate for both the “actions of the bad people” and the “appalling silence of the good people.”

Hendrik Deuning

I chose to analyze the MLK letter, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The rhetorical situation was during the height of the civil rights movement when Africa-Americans were demanding equal rights—rights afforded to white people but withheld from African-Americans. One of the leaders of this movement, MLK, is in prison following an arrest for peacefully demonstrating against injustices in the most racist and segregated regions in the United States. He’s responding to a letter published by eight white clergymen who feel compelled to express understanding and solidarity as their faith teaches, but are bound by their own racism and the institutional racism woven into the fabric of society. Thus they pen a letter arguing against the demonstrations and even encourage the local “Negro” community to withdraw support of the demonstrations.

      King establishes ethos early on by expressing respect and a belief that good-will is put forth by the eight clergymen. Further credibility is established when King equates his purpose to those of prophets during the eighth century B.C. and that of the Apostle Paul, who “left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world.” He also describes his own experience of racism, brutality, and imprisonment and witnessing the same to fellow human beings. MLK shows his purpose far transcends the characterization of him and the civil rights movement as “outsiders” and the demonstrations as “extreme measures.”

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