Mlk- I Have a Dream Speech Analysis

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Review of a Filmed Speech
“I Have A Dream” Martin Luther King Jr.
Evan Rodgers

On August 28th 1963, Martin Luther King Jr delivered a speech on the equality of whites and blacks. He gave the speech in front of an audience of approximately 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a dynamic speech that touched the hearts of audiences and brought the country together to fight for a common dream of equality.

The main message that the speech has is freedom and equality. King had suffered the racial injustice of America at that time and was tired of the segregation. “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: ‘For Whites Only.’” At this point in time, society was segregated to an extreme. Blacks and whites did not mix, the black people were forced to sit at the back of the bus while the white people had the privilege of the front. The two races could not drink from the same water fountains and attended segregated schools. There had been attempts to make a change in the past such as Rosa Parks, however no one was able to leave the same lasting impression that King did and make such a change in society as we now know it.

“One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” King had a dream, a dream of racial equality. King was not fighting for only his own rights, he was also fighting for the future of his children, so that they would not endure the cruel police brutality of the times. In the speech King states “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This does not only show his dream for the future generations but also gives the speech personal identity by including his own children.

Throughout the speech King uses a various amount of linguistic devices that help to give his speech the extra edge needed to keep his words in the minds of listeners for years to come. One of the main styles of public speaking King uses is repetition. Throughout the speech he constant repeats certain words and catch phrases such as “I have a dream” or “Let freedom ring.” These help to drill his words into the audience and create a lasting impression. This is a technique that is generally used in speeches, especially those dealing with politics. Obama, another man making a big change in society also uses this technique with his catch phrase “Yes we can,” the use of repetition allows the speaker to get their words through to every listener whether they realize it or not.

King also includes aspects of the American Culture in his speech. This not only draws the attention of the white Americans but also shows a connection between the blacks and the whites, they are all Americans and they all live on the same land. King says lines like “when architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” this line praises the American beliefs. King gives a strong point of connection between the blacks and whites and their belief in the Declaration of Independence. He does not put down the American government despite the segregation and hardships but instead compliments them in his speech. The use of American Culture can also tie into King’s pacifism. King was against war and violence and in his speech he states “we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence,” this connects to why he never puts down the government. King shows that with kindness you get further than with violence as the changes that he made in the world are much more than a war would have done.

Another strong point of King’s speaking is his inclusivity of the audience. He rarely states his goals in the form of ‘I’ but instead using ‘we.’ This technique draws the...
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