The famous speech of Martin Luther King
The famous speech, “ I Have a Dream”, was held in 1963 by a powerful leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. He was born January 15,1929 the son of an Atlanta Pastor. Martin Luther King Jr. always insisted on nonviolent resistance and always tried to persuade others with his nonviolent beliefs. In 1963, King spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and almost 200,000 people attended his speech. All his listeners were Civil Rights supporters who rallied behind him and the people who watched his appearance on television. King traveled the country making speeches and inspiring people to become involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He organized non violent student sit-ins and fought for the rights of the black population.
In his speech, he proclaimed a free and better nation of equality and that both races, the blacks and the whites, should join together to achieve common ground and to support each other instead of fighting against one another. King’s vision is that all people should be judged by their “personality and character and not by their color of skin”(‘I Have a Dream”). All points he made in his speech were so strong that lots of people were interested in his thoughts. He dreamed of a land where the blacks could vote and have a reason to vote and where every citizen would be treated the same and with the same justice. He felt that all Americans should be equal and that they should forget about injustice and segregation. He wanted America to know what the problems were and wanted to point out the way to resolve these problems.
In his speech, King uses different types of rhetorical guidelines. He uses them to show his points in a better and easier way to understand .At the beginning he successfully uses a mythos. A mythos has a deep explanatory or symbolic resonance for the audience. In mentioning the Emancipation Proclamation he shows that our ancestors signed a contract, in which all human beings are created equal, and therefore should be treated in the same way as others. He also visualizes his ideas with visual examples, which everybody can understand. “America has given the black population a bad check, which has come back marked insufficient funds”( I Have a Dream)
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...e that a weak relationship between the blacks and the whites can transform with some work into a solid (rock) connection.
Another important technique is the repetition. He uses several times “ I Have a Dream”, in order to “implant his thoughts into the heads of his audience”. He also uses the powerful words “Free at last” in order to show the importance of the situation of the black population. The repetition is useful to show the audience the importance of the subject and the urgency to react.
King’s historical speech in 1963 has held great symbolic value not only for the African Americans, but also for all of the equal rights supporters of every age and race. He was the first one who really fought for the same rights of African Americans and therefore inspired other people to live his dream and to continue his work for racial equality.
King, Martin Luther Jr. “ I Have a Dream”.
The Compact Reader. Subjects, styles and strategies
Editor: Jane E. Aaron.
New York: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 1987. 315-319