Letter Form a Birmingham Jail Mlk
Oppressed feelings: No longer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was incarcerated after fighting for his rights in a nonviolent peaceful protest to fight, exercising the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, and the Freedom of speech; an automatic given for those who do not consist of colored skin.
In response, Dr. King wrote a powerful letter to the “genuine” clergymen announcing his strong opinions and beliefs toward segregation, discrimination, and racism. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. executed such an overwhelming piece of writing expressing the poor treatment of African Americans, the explanations of his actions, and his opinions regarding a true and better government. He expressed his desire and faith for the greater good and change in this letter with the use of emotional appeals such as imagery, diction, and descriptions of his harsh personal experiences regarding segregation and discrimination because of his skin color.
Paragraphs 14 and 15 consists of emotional twists from unjust laws and release a combination of emotional and harsh events from the African American’s reality that bring the reader into their perspective from a hated level. In these paragraphs, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gets more personal and specific about the harsh treatment of African Americans and personal experiences regarding their harsh reality. Imagery shows all throughout this paragraph to create powerful and tear quenching emotions from the reader to get you to at least slightly understand their perspective.
Dr. King immensely expresses what not only he, but all African Americans are and have been going through. He is able to paint a picture in the readers’ head of the abuse, pain, and hatred they have felt. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society…(218).
All I see is hate filled police and Caucasian’s with disgust in their face causing undeserving pain to people that only have one difference: their skin color. Although I was not there to personally experience this torment, Dr. King is able to withdraw my emotions with just the truth, and put me on his side. His picture withdrew disgust and angriness for what our society is and how human beings can be. That little piece of the actual paragraph is just a glimpse. Dr. King goes on and on about their mistreatment.
They are not just pained physically, but they are also haunted emotionally and mentally as well, “When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living in constantly tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”…” (218). Personally, feeling alone and insignificant is one of my worst fears about life, and Dr. King along with “twenty million” others suffered from this feeling for centuries.
Imagery was able to capture my full attention in this paragraph, allowed me to see a glimpse of their pain, suffering, and mistreatment. With the powerful impact of imagery in these paragraphs, it certainly wasn’t the only strategy he used. Diction was an immeasurable aspect of this paragraph. The structure of Dr. King’s vocabulary was eloquent and delivered in such a structured, skillful manner that he was able to draw tear-filled emotions to his audience. He used words such as ‘curse’, ‘kick’, ‘lynch’, ‘kill’, ‘smothering’, ‘humiliated’, and ‘despair’.
These words are able to describe to the reader of the completely atrocious way people treated each other because of such an insignificant matter, the difference in skin color. Just reading these chosen words and how well it played with imagery, I winced. Using diction is shown to be powerful in this case because if Dr. King were to have only said, ‘mistreatment’, ‘abuse’, or ‘discriminated’, it would not have withdrawn as much emotion from his audience at the time and the readers now.
His in detail descriptions of his barbaric treatment and personal experiences is the most influential and compelling strategy in paragraph 14 and 15. The disturbing events that occurred in that time period showed how cruel mankind to be. Dr. King shares experiences such as explaining to his children their harsh realities at that moment in time: When you suddenly find your 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 has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her yes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky…When you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean? (218). Children are thought to be so innocent, pure from hatred, and chance giving and then when their little hearts are corrupted to think they are less than someone else, and they feel like they are in a world full of hurt, what are they to do then?
Dr. King also shares his bleak experiences of witnessing that hatred be performed with murder and being denied what is thought of as automatic rights. These personal experiences not only keep your nose to the paper, but it is appalling to know the easy capabilities we hold as human beings to torment others for little things not only mentally, but physically, to the point of taking their lives completely away from them.
These lives taken lived a life where they were beaten and never shown the feeling of whole freedom and life without hypothetical chains. Dr. King was able to use these experiences to squeeze emotions out of his audience. They not only described their cold facts, but it brought me to his level of understanding and on his side. Dr. King did more than just simply explain their experience. Dr.
King described that they have been waiting “for more than 340 years for” their “constitutional and God given rights” and watching other nations such as “Asia” and “Africa” move “with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence”, but how the United States was still creeping “at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter” (217). He talked about how it was appalling for someone who never had to watch “vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim” (218) to say, “Wait. That with everything they have been through, they cannot and will not endure it any longer. He strongly felt that this could happen no longer, and that if it took “disobey[ing] unjust laws” (218) then he would. These paragraphs proved to be a monumental breakthrough for this letter. He described how he wasn’t going to take it any longer. After a lifetime of witnessing hate, ignorance, and abuse, personally being discriminated and segregated against for his skin color, and being thrown in jail for peacefully protesting, exercising the first mendment, he was still standing strong in his beliefs, not backing down. He was able to persevere through so much, and he wasn’t going to stop until his point was being made and change was happening. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to execute these immaculate paragraphs through emotional appeals (diction, imagery, and personal experiences) to minimally just slightly understand what he has been through, and that he will not back down or tolerate it any longer.
His cruel reality was not the only thing to breakthrough his audiences’ exterior but his strong will and genuine personality was able to make a huge impact. Through everything, and only being shown hate and violence, he retaliated with calmness, peaceful protests, and nonviolent maneuvers. This was more than the rest of the human race was able to do. After that, Dr. Martin Luther King deserves all the respect in the world.