One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
-Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail,"" p. 900.
Throughout Martin Luther King Junior's Letter from Birmingham Jail, it is made evident that time is a constant theme necessary to reference. In fact, the statement he is responding to is calling his present activities unwise and untimely. Thus, a majority of the letter is dedicated to expressing a mood of necessity-- specifically how timely his actions truly are. .
King intertwines the theme of time with the use of emotional appeals (or pathos), the use of appeals to authority and/or reputation (or ethos), and the use of appeals to logic (or logos) to defend himself against the opposition's arguments. King also uses lots of imagery, metaphors and symbolism to communicate his message to the reader.
In the statement quoted above, King begins with making a reference to time, letting his readers know the time for the south to realize children are standing up to the American dream is arriving. King also begins his statement with the use of emotional appeal when he points out that these kids are disinherited children of God who, in spite of sitting down at lunch counters were really taking a stand for what is best. The word disinherited alone leaves the reader with the image of penniless and deprived individuals, which is a strong emotional visual. Metaphorically connecting their act of sitting down with taking a stand was a brilliant way to symbolize democracy.
King goes on to make an appeal to authority when he reveals what these disinherited children were standing up for, "the American Dream mind you and the most sacred values of our Judeo-Christian heritage- (King 900).