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Montclair WRIT 105 - Dr. King’s “Letter of Birmingham”

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1Dr. King’s “Letter of Birmingham”Camille Georges Department: Writing StudiesWRIT 105-21: College Writing IDr. Nicole James (Dr. Jay)October 31, 20222While writing this essay, I did a lot of things to make it better and ready for its final draft.I got some revisions from the professor and a classmate for a peer review. I took all the feedback and made all the needed revisions because I know that it would make my essay better. Most of the revisions were to fix some grammar mistakes and to elaborate on some of my thoughts. If I had more time, I would try to make some of my paragraphs a little more thought out and explain some of my points better. Since this was a longer essay, there were times when it was hard for me to try and get enough information without repeating myself or just having useless sentences. For example, some of my paragraphs were mostly quotations which made it easier to fill the word count, but it was hard to continue finding information to write while not using quotes as fillers. Some problems that I have noticed in my own writing when it comes to editing are how toedit correctly and how to make a significant difference when editing. Usually, if I don’t get drastic reasons to edit my essay, I find myself confused about what more to change to make it better in any way possible. I am trying to do to get better is rereading my entire essay a couple oftimes and seeing if there are any sentences or grammar mistakes I can fix. When I reread my essay a few times, it becomes easier to see what can be improved because it helps me get better ideas in my head or find ways to word a part of my essay better. I would like for you to be able to address my writing style and if there is anything I can improve to make my writing clearer andmore entertaining to read. While writing and revising this essay, I learned a good amount about this topic. Before doing this essay, I knew what the Birmingham letter was, but not what it was or its significance. Knowing more about the background of the letter and who wrote it helps to a great extent because it will make it easier to understand the emotion, motive, and logic behind the word choice and expression in the letter which in turn makes it a little easier to write an essayon it.3Martin Luther King Jr. was a very well-known Civil right. He would fight for the rights of black people and desegregation in the southern states. The segregation between black and white people causes public outcries for equality, such as riots and protests. On April 12, 1963, King was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for protesting without a legal permit which ended up leading to violence. While in jail, he writes “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” describing his want for unity and fighting against the judgment of the white moderates. His letter has a specific purpose and uses rhetoric and certain word choices to get his message to his readers. In this letter, King is writing to clergymen to share his views on the issues of discrimination. His goal was to bring light to the issues within Alabama. While writing to the clergymen, he is also writing to the public so they can understand his disappointment in America. The King’s views were criticized and because of that, he challenged the clergymen’s views by providing arguments that supported him. He uses emotion, credibility, and logic to justify his actions. He does this to express to the public that everyone should be equal and that we are all people, and we are all one and the same.?Dr. King uses the power of figurative language to display his message clearly through this letter. His use of ethos is very prevalent. He does this to make the reader feel what was happening, not just read about it. An example of this would be when (King, 1963, para.3) states, “Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord”far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village...” Ethos is used here because he is referencing the Bible, a credible source, to empower his views. Another use of figurative language is the use of irony. An example of irony would be when (King, 1963, para.3) says, “On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward.” This is the4use of irony because heaven is supposed to be a place that is looked upon in a positive and joyous way, but the same people who are religious are cruel to African Americans, which is the opposite of what they should be doing. King starts to argue about the just and unjust laws. He explains that it can be seen as very hypocritical for a group of people who so strongly urge people the supreme court law that ended segregation not to follow certain laws. He (King, 1963) states, “here are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I agree with St. Augustine that, “An unjust law is no law at all” (para.12). He then goes on to explain what makes a law just and unjust. He explains that a just law is a man-made one that follows the law of God. Unjust laws are ones that are created to disrupt the rhythm of moral laws. To help strengthen his point, he used the words of Martin Buber to show how unjust lawscan and will degrade people. He (King, 1963) verbalizes, “To use the words of Martin Buber, thegreat Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an “I - it” relationship for the “I - thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So, segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful.” (para.13). He also uses the words of Paul Tillich when he (King, 1963) writes, “Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation.” (para 13). Using these resources in his letter not only makes his point more relevant and conclusive but also gives it more credibility in the sense of ethos. Ethos is all about using credible, known sources, and King using these people as a reference brings the ethos level up significantly. The presence of metaphors is also very prevalent in this letter as well. For instance, King compares injustice to being like a boil. He communicates, “a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines5of air and light….” He emphasizes the situation and


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