Letter from a Birmingham Jail

December 10th, 2017

In American history, as a country that has set foot to social justice, this country has also had problems such as social injustice in race and gender. People would be needed to be reminded of the important foundational idea of being an American. As our Declaration of Independence state that “all men are created equal”, people believe in this word and brought justice to this country. One of the largest injustice United States had was the social injustice amongst African American. Even after the abolishment of slavery, social injustice towards African American stayed, including discrimination and segregation. The “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” from Martin Luther King Jr. gives a persuasive writing in the matter of injustice against the African American community and defines what justice is for this country.

Justice and Injustice

African American that were brought here for slavery and were given freedom, there were still limited and segregated in their life in America. Their opportunity and social service are limited by discrimination from the white Americans. Martin Luther King Jr have to lead a nonviolent movement against this issue of social rights and justice. Although this movement was stopped by white officials, which he was prisoned for civil disobedience. He has written a letter to the white clergy that has opposed to his nonviolent movement as idiotic. Martin Luther King Jr., however, stated that this condition is evident all around the country and need to be stopped. Martin Luther King Jr describes in his letter that, with brutal violence and segregation from the white, there was bombing in homes and churches in African American communities in Birmingham. (King, 1963) Birmingham was recognized as probably the worst discrimination against African Americans and this injustice is justified around the country. Black men were not allowed to vote. His letter has talked of common sense that this country was founded on, which gives equal rights beyond racial boundaries to every American.

Persuasive Letter

This letter of Birmingham has become of the most memorable letter recognized today, that have brought significant impact to the African American community. This persuasive writing in this letter carries many forms of rhetorical strategies to convey the message of justice. One of an example in this letter would be Adolf Hitler and the Jews. As Hitler set a rule that makes it illegal to aid the Jew from fleeing the Nazis, Martin Luther King Jr describes that from moral justice, he would rather help the Jews and “comforted my Jewish brothers” (King, 1963). His persuasive writing allowed the main point stand out and bring a message that many listeners to relate to. Having evidence would bring credibility and grows acceptance to the audience. In his letter, he has included historical evidence to support his point and his argument.

The audience would be able to have a clear and detailed understanding of this main point. He has also used the civil historical event in America, the Tea Party, to support his idea for the necessity of the nonviolent movement. Setting facts and evidence is one of the techniques in persuasive writing. This evidence is used in his argument of what is just and what is unjust. Martin Luther King Jr also uses a lot of rhetorical questions in his letter. “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?” (King, 1963) The rhetoric question allows the audience to think for a moment. This method is effective in describing an idea that cannot be simply can be told but need to be interpreted by the audience. Revealing the hiding meaning brings depth to this letter and effective in a persuasive writing. This method can be effective in incorporating in my final project by supporting my argument and would bring my readers attention in my main point. Directing my readers to the main point would allow the users clearly understand and bring a strong persuasive argument.


Martin Luther King Jr, have shared a remarkable message to the Birmingham white clergymen and the world of justice. His persuasive writing uses different techniques, which made his speech equally memorable and persuasive. He has used historical events and figures to support his argument. This speech has served much social justice for African American and has impacted the world about the message of human rights. The “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” from Martin Luther King Jr. presented a persuasive writing in the matter of injustice against the African American community and defines what justice is for this country.


King, M. (1963). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Retrieved from:


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