Martin Luther King was an established clergyman and one of the most prominent civil rights activists of the 1960s. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and electrified America with his momentous “I Have a Dream” speech, dramatically delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The key message in the speech is that all people are created equal, and through the integration of society, peace and harmony could be achieved. His words were directed to the white racists of the South and the political leaders of Congress. While the address has a very strong message for white people and speaks about drastic change, King’s words are mostly about tranquility, offering a common goal everyone can associate with. Through Martin Luther King’s diction, rhetorical devices and forms, he touched the hearts of millions and marked the turning point of the civil rights movement.
Rhetorical forms such as classification and examples are present in Martin Luther King’s speech. His speech is divided into two parts. The first half portrays a nightmare, full of racial injustice and segregation and how African Americans have suffered for too long. The second half of the speech talks about the future and how racial integration will result in harmony. King gives specific examples of the states in which racial injustice is most severe but still addresses other states. The Southern states in particular are the ones that have truly devastated the African American community. One way that King accomplishes this is to make various state references throughout the speech. He references: Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California and Tennessee. Mississippi is mentioned more than any other state; this repetition would evoke strong emotion for the audience, because of the many marches and incidents that occurred there.
Martin Luther King’s use of euphonious diction sends