Critics of Martin Luther King Jr.s Letter from Birmingham Jail typically agree that the text is persuasive because King was keenly aware of who his audiences were, and knew what kind of rhetorical appeals would be most effective to persuade them. On the Discussion Board, we have already looked at how King hoped to reach a wide variety of people with this letter; King considered it a manifesto of sorts, a careful and considerate argument that he hoped would demonstrate that nonviolent resistance was the best way to end Jim Crow segregation. If King had simply wished to persuade people or Americans, the letter would have been too vague and general to be effective.
Now that we understand the rhetorical situation, your next assignment is to write an essay in which you argue for which section or paragraph of the letter is the strongest in Kings argument.
To make your case, use Aristotles framework for understanding rhetorical appeals (logos, pathos, and ethos), and write about how King deploys one or more of these appeals to persuade his readers. Is King at his best when he is using pathos? What about when he focuses on making logos or ethos appeals? Not only do you have to define what strongest means in this paper, but you also need to support your claim with evidence from the letter, showing who King is wanting to persuade, and which rhetorical appeal (or appeals) he depends on to accomplish this feat.

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