"Letter From Birmingham Jail" by Dr. King.

Essay by foxracersd May 2003

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"Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love?" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states this in his famous " Letter From Birmingham Jail" in which he responds to white clergy-men who critize him for " unwise and untimely demonstrations". During the jail sentence he serves, he writes this letter where he addresses the clergymen and expresses his attitude toward the statements made about him. He constructs his response through the use of parallelism, allusions, and sets the tone of the letter with powerful diction.

Blacks are going through a really tough time during this Negro revolution in 1963 and Dr. King accentuates the point by the use of strong diction, which set the tone of the letter. For example, Dr. King elucidates the reason his people can't wait for their rights and that's because " hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill" his " black brothers and sisters" and that basically most white people torment them any chance they get.

The fact that he brings up physical abuse being brought upon his people should be enough to persuade the clergymen that what he is doing isn't wrong. The tone of the statement leaves a profound impression that his people need equality if they are going to survive in this country. In addition, he exemplifies how segregation affects the life of his people like when a black parent finds his or herself " tongue twisted" and their "speech stammering" when explaining to their tear-filled six-year-old daughter she can't go to an amusement park just advertised on television because she is colored. The fact that a parent can't explain to her daughter she can't attend a public place because of her color, punctures any sensible heart. The fierce example Dr. King uses to depict the...