Martin Luther Kings’ Use of Pathos and Logos in his Letter from Birmingham Jail

In “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr., uses logos, pathos, and ethos to support his arguments. In at least 750 words, explain which of these modes of appeal you personally find to be the most effective in King’s “Letter,” and why. Pick no more than two modes of appeal.

April 16, 196, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” a response to “A call for unity.” “A call for unity” was written by eight white clergymen stating that there was racial segregation that should be righted, but that was a job for the courts to handle, not everyday people.

King defended the idea that injustice is everywhere, not just in the courts. King uses all pathos, logos, and ethos in his letter to really get his message across. Though he uses all three very effectively, I believe King most effectively uses pathos and logos by giving illustrations of what African Americans faced every day, examples in history in which the law was not right, and the make-up of a just or unjust law.

One way I personally believe King uses pathos so effectively is by giving examples of what happens to African Americans frequently while the law stands by and does nothing. He talks about how mothers and fathers are lynched and siblings are drowned because white men felt like it. This made me feel the heart break that these people are experiencing. He also talks about a little girl who sees an advertisement for an amusement that is opening.

She cries when she’s told that she is not allowed to go because they do not allowed colored people in there. This shows the extent of racism even children are not spared. These illustrations made me upset at what African Americans had to deal with, and infuriated that the law was not doing anything about it. Pathos is used very effectively if I am feeling such emotions by just reading a paragraph.

I believe King uses logos most effectively by using examples in history of how the law was not right. He talks about how Hitler killed many and it was considered under the law “legal.” Hitler tortured people, tore apart families, destroyed towns in the name of “racial cleansing.” The law said it was perfectly fine, but morally that was very wrong. Hitler and his Nazis killed over eleven million people, and only six million were Jews. Hitler targeted not only Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexual, physically and mentally disabled, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, socialists, and communists. Millions of these were children.

While this was legal, the efforts to save these groups from torture were considered illegal. No one was allowed to help any one of the groups out of a concentration camp or even out of the country. By comparing these two actions and the legality of both, I saw the logic of his argument. A law may be a law, but that does not mean it is right. This helps King’s letter be even more credible because of his use of logos in his illustration between Hitler and the relief organizations during the Holocaust.

In addition, King describes the differences between a just and an unjust law. He quotes Thomas Aquinas who states, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” This means that laws that are beneficiary to only a small amount of people and have no religious or just outcomes for society as a whole are not good. King continues with the message that if the majority votes in a law and the minority has no say and the law benefits only the majority, then it is not a right law.

This to me was very logical and made me think about the unjust laws African Americans dealt with on a daily basis. Because they had almost no rights and were segregated, they did not have a say in many laws. The outcome of that was America had many laws that benefited Whites but hardly any that benefited African Americans. Reading this made me believe King even more, because of how logical and sound this letter is.

King does use ethos in his letter to the clergymen, and very effectively too, even though I found pathos and logos were more effective to me. One way King uses ethos is by quoting multiple historical figures in his speech in order to get to the point across that being an extremist is not necessarily evil. Some historical figures he lists are Peter, an extremist for the Gospel, Abraham Lincoln, an extremist for liberty, and Thomas Jefferson, an extremist for equality.

These men were great, and through seeing how these men were extremists, I see how the clergymen were wrong in saying that extremists are bad. Kings list of historical figures is effective in ethos because it made me believe that extremist can be very powerful and right.

In King’s letter, even though ethos was used very well, I believe pathos and logos are used most effectively with the illustrations of what African American faced every day, examples in history in which the law was not right, and the make-up of a just or unjust law. King describes what they had to face on a daily basis and the emotional toll it took on families, which is a prime example of pathos. Logos is shown through historical events were the law was not just like in the Holocaust. Logos is also shown when King describes the differences between a just and unjust law, for example if a law benefits only a small group and harms the whole, it is not a good law. All the components made King’s letter credible, emotional, and very persuasive.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Leadership Studies
excellent job as always
Customer 452773, September 2nd, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent, great job
Customer 452773, June 19th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
great job as always
Customer 452773, February 26th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent job!
Customer 452773, May 25th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
Management
Thank you!!! I received my order in record timing.
Customer 452551, February 9th, 2021
Social Work and Human Services
Great work I would love to continue working with this writer thought out the 11 week course.
Customer 452667, May 30th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Excellent job
Customer 452773, March 17th, 2023
10th grade English
very good
Customer 452773, March 26th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and effort. Made a 96 out of 125 points Lacked information from the rubic
Customer 452773, October 27th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent
Customer 452773, July 11th, 2023
Nursing
I just need some minor alterations. Thanks.
Customer 452547, February 10th, 2021
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp