This assignment gives a preview of Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, which became an influential piece of writing worldwide. In it, he is responding directly to the “Letter From the Clergy to MLK”, where eight White religious officials from Birmingham say they believe in his struggle, but accuse him of not having the authority, expertise, experience, or proper methods for achieving his goals by coming to Birmingham, Alabama
Next week, we will look at more analysis of Dr. King’s letter, and some more background on that time period, but for now, try to think about what you just read in the previous assignment on the “Letter From the Clergy to MLK”. What language did the writers use? How do you see Dr. King take some of their terms and use them to make his own argument at the beginning of his letter?
Read “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, paragraphs 1-6, and then give an example where King establishes his authority to discuss this issue, or he tries to convince his readers he has good motives, or he tries to establish the readers’ trust in him. He is responding directly to the accusations in the “Letter From the Clergy to MLK” that he doesn’t have the authority, the expertise, the credibility, or the right methods to come to Birmingham to help organize peaceful protests and other nonviolent types of direct action. You will need a copy of Dr. King’s letter (link below), and the Overview on Ethos (link below). You may also want to check out the other resources below, for more explanation of ethos, or for the audio of Dr. King reading his letter.
Please quote the passage, and give the paragraph number. Explain how Dr. King is establishing his credibility or character in this example.
1) “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in pdf, numbered paragraphs (starts on the second page of PDF): Letter From Birmingham Jail.pdf
2) Overview on Ethos (text):
Ethos Approach Overview_1_ (1).docx
3) optional – Ethos in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” (text):
EPL intro for LFBJ (4) (1).docx
4) optional- video on ethos in general and ethos in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” (covers #4 and #5 below): https://us-lti.bbcollab.com/recording/39efa1c7a5924ee482031cd1fb23d2a5
5) optional- audio of Dr. King reading (a slightly different version of) “Letter From Birmingham Jail”: http://okra.stanford.edu/transcription/audio/630416001.mp3
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