They say that power and leadership can be taught and that people are not necessarily born with it. In this essay, I will be talking about two powerful men who were able to change the ideas of the people around them. The first of these men is Martin Luther King, who we celebrate every January of every year. He was the person who wrote the speech “I Have a Dream” that spoke of the inhumanity the blacks were experiences and advocated for the desegregation of the races. He can be thought of as one of the most important influencers who changed the American attitude towards the black race. He did this by careful use of rhetorical strategies. The other person is Mitch Landrieu who is a white American politician and lawyer and current mayor of New Orleans. He too fought against the idealization of the Confederate Monuments and vowed to bring them down. He argued against what they stood for which is the purchase and selling of black slaves and well the terrorism the black community experienced and witnessed. These two men will go down in history as two of the greatest opponents of the segregation of blacks and will forever be remembered for what they stood for and how greatly they fought for black lives. I will be discussing the rhetorical strategies evident in the letter from Birmingham by (Martin Luther King) and the Speech on the Confederate Monuments by Mayor.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist. who supported the rights of African Americans and defended his morals for organizing nonviolent protesting. While he was in Birmingham, he was arrested and sent to jail for protesting the segregation of the black and white races. He received an open letter from eight white clergymen who criticized him and called him an “outsider”. As a response, he wrote a letter to let them know what was in his mind. At this time white and black American people were as divided as could possibly be managed by those in change like the police and other members of the law. For example, there were whites-only hotels, restaurants, and bathrooms that were of limit for African Americans. Another example of segregation was evident in the fact that blacks were denied the rights to vote and to have a decent education and basic economic opportunity. At that time Birmingham was one of the worst places in which a black American could be. Martin Luther King wrote this letter to call and encourage the whole nation, White and Black, religious leaders, civil rights activists, to oppose his sentence and stop segregation and the unjust laws the blacks were experiencing stating that everyone is responsible for justice within the nation.
Mitch Landrieu has been mayor of New Orleans for the past eight years and has done so much good in the face of defying the racism black citizens were facing. He believed New Orleans could be thought of as a melting pot of cultures and that no other place could exemplify the American motto of “out of many we are one”. He explains that New Orleans was one of the largest American black slave markets. His purpose was to persuade the people of New Orleans and others to remove the Confederate Monuments and not to look up to them in any way because what they stood for was nothing but terrorism.
Both of these men used the rhetorical devices of ethos, pathos, and logos in order to make their speeches and letters as persuasive as they possibly could. They used different forms of figurative language and succeeded in trying to make their words remembered and considered. Throughout this essay, I will give examples of how they used these rhetorical devices and what they achieved by doing so.