Patrick Clayton Cantrell
23 October, 2012
Analysis of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
Amidst the bigotry and racial violence of the Civil Rights Movement, there stood a shining example of brotherhood, unity, and an undying thirst for equality. In what was known as the March of Washington, an estimated total of 200,000 people of all races—observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black and the rest were white and non-black minorities—took to the streets of Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing racial injustice in the work field and in everyday life. It was on this momentous day that the great Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most powerful and influential voices of the Civil Rights Movement, gave one of history’s most memorable speeches. His speech, later came to be known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, served to bring into light the injustice experienced daily by the African American population of the United States.
In his famous speech, King outlined the racial discrimination and social inequalities that inhabit the great country whose creed explicitly states “all men are created equal.” This constituted the main purpose of his speech: to encourage and empower the attendees and those at home to challenge the widespread discrimination and the status quo of the time. Bigotry had a stranglehold on all aspects of life during the Civil Rights era. From childhood, racial themes and motifs were embedded into the very being of the child. A plethora of consequences arose from this. Whites usually aged into adulthood with the belief that racial superiority belonged to them because of the color of their skin. Most African Americans, on the other hand, grew up with beliefs very much contradictory to those of their white counterparts. Many aged with the preconceived notion that racial inferiority accompanied being black. Martin Luther King, in his speech,...