Differences Between Mlk and Jfk

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Megan Melisz
Mrs. Dole-Wafner
English 10 H
19 October 2011
Kennedy and the King
Both Martin Luther King’s and John F. Kennedy’s speeches helped the fight for civil rights for African Americans and are both remembered today, though their tones and diction were completely different. Along with their tones and diction, the audiences that these speeches were read to were different. John F. Kennedy presented is speech to the entire American audience on live television. Martin Luther King presented his in the shadow of the great Abraham Lincoln, to a smaller but still great amount of people, mainly African Americans. Kennedy’s tone was scolding or disappointed. It resembled a parent talking to a child before giving his or her punishment. King’s was thrilling and motivating. It got your adrenaline flowing and surged through you, creating a desire to take action. All of this is evident throughout both of the speeches, from the first line to the last.

John F. Kennedy’s speech, called the Civil Rights Announcement, followed an incident in Alabama that called for National Guardsmen, to escort two African Americans onto a campus that was given an unequivocal order to desegregate. In his speech he repeatedly says how everyone is included in this fight, he says “this is a problem which faces us all” and “this is a matter that concerns this country and what it stands for and in meeting it I ask the support of all our citizens.” Showing that his audience included blacks as well as whites, southerners as well as northerners, and men as well as women.

Kennedy’s tone or ethos seemed as though he was scolding the Americans. He seems disappointed in his people as he says, “I hope every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about his and other related incidents.” Also, if you watch him read the speech you can see in his face the shame, that people of his country, had to be escorted by National Guardsmen, simply because of the color...
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