Martin Luther King’s “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression” is a highly personal and persuasive section from his book, Stride Toward Freedom, in which he presented the three ways people deal with oppression and argues clearly for what he considered as the right one, among the three choices presented. Organized in such a way to prove a main point or theory over others, the essay skillfully used both emotional and philosophical persuasive techniques to achieve its effect of rousing the Negroes to fight for their freedom and still maintain their dignity in the face of injustice. The first way in meeting oppression is through acquiescence in which a people would rather submit to oppression than deal with the terrors of freedom. To illustrate this kind of attitude, he gave the example of the Biblical account of the Jews who did not at first took to the exhortation of Moses to lead them towards freedom from their slavery in Egypt. The second one is through violence in which he wrote was not only impractical but also, immoral. Finally, the third choice, the use of non-violent resistance, in which he clearly advocated the middle way between the first two choices presented. Martin Luther King uses mainly literary, anecdotal and philosophical supporting examples and arguments to present his case for advocacy of non-violent resistance. While mostly value statements (appeal to morality and religious values), rather than strict facts are used to prop up his theory or position, King presented his material in such a way that it is organized and progressively logical, where the first two ways of meeting oppression were systematically dealt with arguments that effectively destroyed their appeal to his intended audience, the Negroes and other peoples who would potentially rally or support their cause in having equal rights. The purpose of the piece is to provide a highly personal view of the situation that was facing the Negroes at a time when the blacks were feeling oppressed due to a racial segregation policy that made them politically and socially inferior to the white majority.
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