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ENGL 1302.760 18 July 18, 2012 Being a Smith for 340 Years Living in a world where only some laws are obeyed and there is corruption at every corner is sadly now normal in society, but one can only imagine experiencing extreme animosity purely based off of skin color. Basic rights, pride, and identity were robbed from innocent American human beings with not a word being said, Kings letter brought light to all the darkness. Letter from Birmingham is by far one of the most logical, convincing argumentive speeches. Birmingham was a principle stepping stone to end segregation, a flawless answer to Kings critics that is forever burned into history. King uses every word for a purpose affecting whoever is his audience, he effortlessly applies pathos, ethos, and logos to convey his inner thoughts and beliefs for example King states,” …suddenly you find yourself tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that had just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children…”(218). A team of bulldozers with just one sentence is pulling the emotional strings of the heart. Not only is King using the example of his own family and the pain he goes through to show his side of the issue to give his words more intimate meaning, but also King also shows the purity and the innocents of children that see no color and see no segregation. This shows that hatred for colored beings is not natural, infants are not born with this trait, and racism is something taught by choice. King applies so much thought and effort into every single word that one could read a sentence from paragraphs 14 and 15 everyday and find a new hidden message each time it is read. King beautifully said,” The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political

when your first name becomes “nigger. but America is barley dragging by doing little to change the ways of the government using words such as “jet-like speed” and “buggy and horse pace”. In a single paragraph. .”when you have humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”. making paragraph 14 the strongest writing out of Kings entire letter. The sad truth is that Kings example happened on a daily basis in his lifetime and lifetimes before him. a mere 500-600 words King flawlessly addresses the history of segregation. Realism sinks in after reading that goose bump inflicting paragraph.”…when your harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro…when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”(218). and the feeling of being a no one.” your middle name becomes “boy”(however old you are) and your last name becomes “John. the inhumanity inflicted upon his colored brothers and sisters. But with a second look one would remember the first jet plane flown was in 1939 meanwhile King wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail in 1963. the pain he feels being a father raising a family in his corrupt segregated world. Each and every word pulls at the heart and strengthens the mind in what is necessary to be done to end segregation. implying that Asia and Africa are living in modern day while America is still living in the1800’s with our horse and buggies showing that King used two phrases to refer to verbs. the words are written in black ink for everyone to see is nothing but the truth through his eyes. At first glance one would think King is stating that Asia and Africa are excelling swiftly in shaping their government. but was done anyway King hit the nail on the head explaining just exactly what it is like to be a colored man in the last 340 years up to present time in 1963. In a time when it was against the law to strip a American citizen of their identity.2 independence. but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at the lunch counter”(217). but also places in history.

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. not only to defend his actions that were being criticized but also to calmly and patiently persuade his audience to agree in his beliefs and ideas. King addressed every issue in a mere 47 paragraphs. Simply stating the issue. Conversely. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. Furthermore.” waited for more than 340 years for our [his] constitutional and God-given rights”(217) with his brothers and sisters. one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.3 In addition to Kings words.” We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. while still being able to hold a firm ground of where he stands in the issue giving him the respect of his audience. where it can be seen and dealt with. Every topic chosen in Kings letter served a distinct purpose. each paragraph was rock solid and saturated with the will to persuade others to follow him in his journey. The true art in paragraphs 14 and 15 is that King is not repetitive. sirs. Kings Letter from . to say the least segregations’ dirty laundry was aired. is a man that. We bring it out in the open. while unjust laws hurts the soul and degrades the person and is wrong whether it is a legal law or not. I would agree with St. he is able to convey his messages efficiently without constantly repeating himself. Martin Luther King Jr. you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience”(218) King shows endless class and equality even on such a delicate topic.” These exact words reflect every ink spot used to create paragraphs 14 and 15. Basically explaining that a just law betters a person and their soul whether they are legal laws or apply by nature. Augustine “an unjust law is no law at all”(218). and his audience is aware by the sheer effort and emotion put into each statement.” there are two types of laws: just and unjust. “I hope. explaining himself with logical reasoning and then moving on to the next topic is what really keeps the audience going. Other paragraphs throughout Kings letter make excellent points and have such great insight such as paragraph 24 where King says. he also teaches a lesson on the basics of right and wrong that are still used today.

. but by far two paragraphs shone like a lighthouse in the darkness. Without this Birmingham may never have been the historical moment it is today. each and every sentence played its part deliberately intended by King in ending segregation. paragraph 14 and 15 contrast and compliment each other grasping and persuading the audience.4 Birmingham Jail brought light to issues.

“Letter from Birmingham Jail. Lee A.29. Print.” A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 213. Jacobus. 8th ed. 2010. Martin Luther. Ed. Martins. Jr. . Boston: Bedford / St.5 Works Cited