ERIC Number: ED257137
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Pulpit Responses to Contemporary Issues: The On-Going Rhetoric of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Fadely, Dean; Greene, Ronald W.
Many theoreticians have indicated that a major task of the nonpresumptive rhetor is to gain presumption, thereby shifting the burden of proof to the opposition. Rhetorically, Martin Luther King, Jr., sought to effect this shift in the burden of proof through the use of hierarchies of values. At the top of his value system was the love of God. The next level was the love between humans. A set of morals, established from this love, were then utilized as the criteria for defining justice, and justice was the authority for laws. Most of King's rhetoric attempted to take advantage of the fact that a religious hierarchy of values was predominant in the minds of most Americans. Another characteristic of King's rhetoric was the initiation of a proposition with a fact or truth, mediated with a transitional metaphor, and argued from a value stance. Not only did the rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr, address a myriad of propositions of fact, value, and policy, but it was also directed toward a heterogeneous society. Through his words and actions King shifted the burden of proof onto those who opposed racial equality. In the last analysis this may have been the most pronounced effect of his rhetoric. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A