Literary Terms Used in Martin Luther King's Speech

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Martin Luther King Jr. Use of Figurative Language

Is the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. being forgotten? If you were to sit down and to ask most students about Martin Luther and what he did, they wouldn’t be able to reveal his true achievements that influenced so many people during that time. Before we started going on about this assignment in class, I was in the same boat as those other students. Yes I have learned a little here and there about Martin Luther in Elementary school and Middle school through movies and books but I have without doubt never gone this in depth. King was an amazing orator and presented himself effectively through the use of many types of figurative language. In his “I have a Dream” speech, he used anaphora after anaphora to emphasize his point and make it more memorable to the audience; while he also used metaphors. In his “Loving Your Enemy” sermon, he used many allusions to help show different points of view and again repetition to emphasize his work. To begin with, Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929 and grew up in Atlanta as Michael King Jr. He was the first son of a Baptist Minister and the grandson of a Baptist Minister. His Grandfather and then his Father both served as the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin’s forebears exemplified the African-American social gospel tradition that would shape his career as a reformer. King was the second child in the family, preceded by his sister, Christine King, and later followed by his brother Alfred King. Little Mike began Elementary school first at Yonge Street, then David T. Howard School and by 7th and 8th grade he attended Atlanta University Laboratory High school. All these schools were segregated public schools meaning the blacks were separated from the whites and didn’t have the same privileges as they did. Martin skipped 9th and 10th grade resulting in him graduating from high school at the age of fifteen. Moving on, he received the B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a recognizable Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he was elected president of a primarily white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. While in Boston he met lovely Coretta Scott, a young lady of special intellectual and artistic accomplishments. They soon married and two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was always a hard worker for civil rights for members of his race, and by this time he was a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. Then in 1955, early in December, he was ready to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent protest of current times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunna Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted a total of 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, a few things took place including; King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse. But unbelievably at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now up-and-coming civil rights movement. The ideals of this...
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