Injustice was flourishing, and the pressure of racial segregation was on the rise. One of the most influential people of the movement for black civil rights in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested during his visit to Birmingham, Alabama. In "Letter from Birmingham Jail", King respond to a letter that was published in a local newspaper by eight fellow clergymen when he was imprisoned. In response, Dr. King tells the clergymen how he is upset about their judgements and that he wants to address their concerns. In particular, King uses the three rhetorical appeals of logos, ethos, and pathos, yet pathos is used more effective because King evokes his reader's sympathy by expressing his feelings and thoughts in his letter of response.
King use logos to make most of the arguments very intellectual, King uses logic and provides evidence behind his arguments. He provides clear explanations of "just" and "unjust" laws. King defines "Just" laws as a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God" (159). "Unjust" laws is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law (159). As times back then, being religious was important, King identifies "unjust" laws almost as a contradiction to God's laws and "just" laws was not. King does so that both he and the 8 clergy men would come up with a mutual agreement. King also writes, "All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality." King addresses that locking him up in a prison is unjust, and he shouldn't have to be punished. King was invited to Alabama because injustice was there. King directed the moral laws to his audience to convince them that what the white men is doing is unjust. Sometimes, we need to follow our heart and not the law. We break the law for a good cause but there will be consequences.