"I Have a Dream" Literary Analysis of

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., American Civil War Pages: 4 (1224 words) Published: April 26, 2013
“I Have a Dream” Literary Analysis
The American Civil Rights Movement Leader Martin Luther King Jr. Delivered his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington D.C. This speech has arguably become one of the most famous speeches of the 20th century and argues for equal rights for all mankind.

The “I Have a Dream” speech compares different situations from 100 years ago to now, for African Americans. 100 years ago, on January 1, 1863, the Proclamation of Emancipation was placed into effect. The Proclamation of Emancipation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln, and freed any slaves in the territories still rebelling against the union (dictionary.reference.com). Since the Proclamation of Emancipation, King uses the speech to show how things had not changed for the African Americans. According to the speech, African Americans were still dealing with segregation and being discriminated solely based on the color of their skin.

I believe the most important part, which repeats over and over, is the significance of hope. “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustration of the moment, I still have a dream (King 586-587)”. King instills hope and aspiration into all who listened, and have read his speech since. With the tone and emotion in his voice, he empathizes with all knowing they have suffered so much violence and neglect. He reiterates to them, they must have hope, they must believe that one day integration will happen. I have a dream, symbolically stands for hope.

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir (585)”. King uses vivid language and assigns the term “promissory note” to rights being given to each and every American and...
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