Sermon for My Dear Fellow Clergymen

Required reading for today.

(non)seculargirl

My Dear Fellow Clergymen, begins Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s exquisite Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

My Dear Fellow Clergymen.

When we’re studying persuasive rhetoric, I often ask my students to look at the first four words of Dr. King’s essay, written as the title implies as he was locked up in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in the the spring of 1963.  He wrote the letter as a response to one he received from a group of clergymen—pastors, priests, rabbis–urging him to wait for the democratic process to work on its own, to back off from his nonviolent protests of racial injustice, and to implore his followers and other activists to back off as well.

I tell my students his letter is the single most perfect example of persuasive writing in Western Literature, the culmination of all the author’s spiritual and intellectual experience, the clearest articulation…

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