MLK vs. Obama

Topics: Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, United States Pages: 4 (1461 words) Published: November 10, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. vs. President Obama
Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama have both written and performed their fair share of speeches throughout their respective lives. The two speeches that are being compared are President Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” letter. President Obama spoke this speech while his was campaigning for the presidency in February of 2007, while his was running against Senator Hillary Clinton. During the speech, he addresses the topic about his pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and he also addresses the broader issue of race in the United States. He does this by using the words from the Preamble of the Constitution as a framework. The background of Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter is totally different. At the time that King was writing his letter; he was incarcerated in the Birmingham City Jail for protesting for civil rights in Birmingham Alabama. He wrote his response to eight moderate, white clergymen who had called his previous demonstration as “unwise and untimely…extreme measures [that were] lead … by outsiders” (King 202). He wrote in disappointment because he thought if anyone would understand his reason for standing up and protesting, it was the clergymen. King’s letter better fits an anthology than Obama’s essay because of King’s primary and secondary audience, logical presence, and the author’s stake in the subject toward audience. The primary and secondary audience of a speech is one of the most important components. The primary and secondary audiences are different for the two influential men. The primary audience for King is the eight clergymen who addressed King; while, his secondary audience was the nation itself. It was used to help broadcast his message and the message of many other African American people in the south. King answers in his letter, “Seldom, if ever, do I pause to...

Cited: List
Dilliplane, Susanna. “Race, Rhetoric, and Running For President: Unpacking The Significance of Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” Speech.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs. 127-152. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
King Jr., Martin Luther. “Letter From Birmingham City Jail.” Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd ed. Ed Michael Austin. New York: Norton, 2010. 202-218. Print.
Leff, Michael, and Utley, Ebony. "Instrumental And Constitutive Rhetoric In Martin Luther King Jr. 's "Letter From Birmingham City Jail." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 7.1 (2004): 37-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
Obama, Barack. “A More Perfect Union.” Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd ed. Ed Michael Austin. New York: Norton, 2010. 238-249. Print.
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