Martin Luther King Jr. born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia, is one of the greatest and memorable historic activist for the black civil rights movement. During his lifetime as an activist he has written many things from books to speeches. Two of his work that stand out the most are his “I Have A Dream” speech; a speech he gave at a civil rights tea party, and “A Letter From Birmingham Jail” ; a letter he wrote while incarcerated in response to clergymen who didn’t agree with his beliefs. Although these masterpieces have significant similarities, they also share some differences.
“I Have A Dream” is an inspirational speech calling for an end to racism in the United States and for equal civil and economic rights for African americans. The title is saying that his dream is to have equal rights for all people and his purpose made his speech more persuasive. King’s speech is more of an inspirational appeal. “ Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the staircase.” He’s telling the audience that even though they don’t know how things will turn out from doing these protests and marches, they have to keep faith that things will get better and change will come from it.
Also, his speech shows ethos and pathos, not so much logos like in the letter. That’s because he is trying to persuade the audience emotionally. “And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow of steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.” His words strike a nerve in people. King is putting determination in to the audience’s hearts and is asking everyone to take racial equality seriously. In his speech, King discusses about how blacks are treated unfairly and as second-class citizens. Whites didn’t want to accept african americans and tried to deny them freedom and equality.
Letter From Birmingham is a response to 8 clergymen who didn’t agree with King’s beliefs. “I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.”” He goes to explain why he’s in Alabama and the purpose of his protests. “but more basically i am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” His letter contains lots of bible and classical references. “The gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco- Koran. world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own hometown.” MLK is comparing him trying to spread his message of civil rights to Apostle Paul and how he spread the gospel.
His letter contains mostly a logical appeal because he is speaking directly to the clergymen, but also has ethos and pathos. “You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break law, this is certainly a legitimate concern.” King is letting the clergymen know that it worries him that they are so against him breaking laws so that he can fight for equal right. Throughout the letter, King argues his purpose for the breaking laws which is to end racial segregation and to have a racist-free society. The tone of this letter is a logical defense and is a reaction to the unjust imprisonment and implications of the Birmingham police.
Both the letter and speech discusses equal rights. In the speech, King has a persuasive tone and an inspirational appeal (using ethos and pathos), while in the letter, his tone was more of defensive logic and using logos. “ I Have A Dream” is an inspirational speech for freedom and equality. “ Letter From Birmingham” is a response to an open letter from clergymen who wanted King to call off his civil rights actions.