Martin Luther King: Motivating the Audience Through a Diversity of Appeals

Martin Luther King: Motivating the Audience Through a Diversity of Appeals

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On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most notable speeches in American history, at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King started off his famous “I Have a Dream” speech by stating the impact it would have on America’s civil rights movement: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation” (King 1). With knowledge of rhetoric and persuasion, King had a substantial impact on the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr.’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos appeals enable King to persuade the audience to achieve equality.
Dr. King delivered his speech to a large and diverse audience. When observing photo number three on Blackboard, King’s immediate audience spanned from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, around the reflection pond, and up to the Washington Monument. Because the gathering was so large, half way between the reflection pond and the Lincoln Memorial, speakers were set up to project King’s moving words. Although the speakers set up projected King’s voice farther, it would be the media that spread his voice further. Photographers and media personnel took photos of King and the diverse crowd he addressed. The media coverage of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech expanded his audience from the people who physically attended the March on Washington to the citizens watching the event on television. With the extensive media attention, King was able to target whites that possessed the power to end racial oppression (“photo 3”).
King used an appeal to pathos, in order to persuade his viewers to aid in the quest for equality. By using the power of human emotion, King established the connection needed to ...

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... oppression blacks faced. King’s appeal to ethos set the stage for other methods of persuasion. By building up this appeal, King was able to establish a common ground between himself and the audience. King delivered an effective appeal to pathos, which in turn evoked an emotional response from the viewers. King also used appeals to logic in order to reason with his audience. By appealing to all three rhetorical elements, pathos, logos, and ethos, King was able to effectively persuade and motivate the audience to achieve equality for all American citizens.

Works Cited

King, Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream…” Speech. 28 Aug. 1963. National Archives. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
“Photo 3.” Untitled Public Domain Photograph. Web Links and Photos. ENGL 1301. Bea Hugetz. 28 Oct. 2013. Alvin Community College. Blackboard. JPEG file.

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