October 17, 2013
Mika, Period 7
“I Have A Dream” Speech Rhetorical Analysis
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what would become perhaps the most brilliant and powerful speech in American history. This speech took place in Washington, D.C in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial where hundreds of thousands of black and white Americans gathered to hear MLK make history. In his speech, MLK frequently called for an immediate end to segregation, and spoke of the injustices that blacks have faced in their fight for equality. This speech had a profound effect on the Civil Rights Movement, because only a short time after this speech was delivered, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed, proving the true significance of this speech. MLK’s speeches and peaceful demonstrations incited change in the hearts and minds of Americans nationwide. He took an enormous risk in delivering this speech, knowing that many white folks, as well as the US government would surely want his head for delivering a speech such as this one. However, he stood tall and brave, and inspired an entire nation to change. Therefore, through MLK’s masterful use of allusion, metaphors, ethos, pathos, and rhetorical questions, he was able to prove to all Americans that racism and segregation are not the intended foundations of America.
As MLK delivered his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial he alluded to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, saying, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.” MLK’s reference to Lincoln established authority into his speech. Lincoln was a very powerful who played a critical role in shaping America in his time as President. He empowered the American people throughout the civil war, gained the trust of America and established a new sense of freedom that would live on until today. MLK is invoking the authority of Lincoln to...
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