Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail

Writer’s literacy works are eight inspirations or not. Different aspects affect the nature of writer’s work and the condition that fostered in the writing. In his response to letter from Birmingham jail, King tries to respond on some unjust actions of the clergymen. Clergymen claim that Luther was an outsider thus he was to follow orders.

It is through the uses pathos, logos, and ethos the king responded to them on what an individual should follow. Luther was not happy on what the clergymen thought and did for outsiders and that gave him power and strength to respond to his opponents. Martin Luther king uses the above rhetorical appeals in refuting those who were opposing what was right for each and every individual, (Dlugan, 2010).

In negotiating with his opponents, King used different styles that supported his stand. Logo appeal is one of the main rhetorical appeals that Luther uses in responding to clergymen. In most of his writing, King uses logos in persuading his stand. This can be seen when he tries to explain the aspect of disobeying laws that are unjust and moving in the direction of just laws. He tries to show how the clergymen and he can agree on doing what is right and disobeying what is believed to be wrong.

According to King’s argument, individuals should follow just law simply because it nurtures an individual’s life unlike the unjust law that favors some and affects those who are weak in a given situation, (Xirasagar, 2008). Just laws should always develop a path that has no effect to any person. They should always work in the same direction with God’s law. Luther was very bitter with unjust laws because they contradicted with the expectations of God’s law. Just like any other writer, King uses logos appeals simply because they easily persuade the target group and are rarely disputed, (Leadership Toolbox, 2008).

Luther also uses pathos appeal in the respond he made to the clergymen. Pathos is used by writers in developing sympathy of the target group. King has used it in his writing well and can be seen on how he has developed his arguments. In his writing, king has developed a statement that shows how African Americans encountered a hard life. This is a way of developing sympathy from the audience. He clearly explains how non Americans suffered from whites actions and that was the reason why he was objecting their stand. African Americans according to the king had the worst life in United States simply because racial discrimination was highly practiced. Out of violence from the many quotes developed by the writer, the audience can catch up how African Americans suffered thus develop signs of sympathy, (Xirasagar, 2008).

Finally, King uses ethos in the letter from Birmingham. Ethos is used to persuade the audience on a given situation. King uses character aspect in developing his thoughts towards the audience. Americans believed that Africans were useless and could be handled in any manner without fear. This is what Luther goes against and that is why he responds to the situation in a harsh way. In conclusion, by the use of above ethos, logos, and pathos concept, as a leader one effectively gets an idea on how to persuade individuals, (Dlugan, 2010).


Changing Minds. (2011). Leadership vs. management. Retrieved from,, on July 23, 2012

Dlugan, A. (2010). Ethos, pathos, logos: 3 pillars of public speaking. Retrieved from,, on July 23, 2012

Leadership Toolbox. (2008). Leadership styles: Autocratic leadership. Retrieved from,, on July 23, 2012

Leadership Toolbox. (2008). Leadership styles: Democratic leadership style. Retrieved from,, on July 23, 2012

Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail. (1963), on July 23, 2012

United Nations Public Administration Network. (2010). Leadership styles. Retrieved from,, on July 23, 2012

Xirasagar, S. (2008). Transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership among physician executives. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 22(6), 599-613. Retrieved May 14, 2011 from ProQuest (Document ID: 1582869811)


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