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"How Long, Not Long" Analysis

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Melanie Leach

on 7 December 2013

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Transcript of "How Long, Not Long" Analysis

"How Long, Not Long" Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929. He attended a segregated school in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated at the age of 15. He married a woman by the name of Coretta Scott and together they had two sons and two daughters. King is the youngest male to win a Nobel Peace Prize, winning it at the age of 35.
Technique 1: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
This speech applies to ethos, logos, and pathos because of the logic, emotion, and political aspects in the speech itself. King uses a lot of emotions in his speech to show his audience that they are not alone. He often delivers the speech in which he uses the words "we, us, and our
"On our part we must pay our profound respects to the white Americans who cherish their democratic traditions over the ugly customs and privileges of generations and come forth boldly to join hands with us."

King also lets his audience know that they aren't alone by telling them
"[t]here are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going."
Technique 2: Repetition
"We have walked through desolate valleys and across the trying hills. We have walked on meandering highways and rested our bodies on rocky byways... We have been drenched by the rains."
Technique 3: Personification
"But not until the colossus of segregation was challenged in Birmingham did the conscience of America begin to bleed."
Technique 4: Rhetorical Questions
Technique 5: Anecdotes
Excerpt from "How Long, Not Long"
A few times in King's speech, he uses anecdotes to emphasize his point and connect with his audience.
"... a seventy-year old Negro woman who lived in this community during the bus boycott - and one day, she was asked while walking if she didn't want to ride. And when she answered, "No," the person said, "Well, aren't you tired?" And with her ungrammatical profundity, she said, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested." And in a real sense this afternoon, we can say that our feet are tired, but our souls are rested."
In this example, King tells the story of a woman who walked to show her support for the bus boycott. At the beginning, he uses her to connect with the audience by telling them that she had "lived in this community" and that she had also walked for what she believed in. He then goes on to quote her, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested", and applies her words to how everyone listening was feeling: physically, they were tired, but they had done what they set out to do.
The "How Long, Not Long" speech is filled with rhetorical questions to put emphasis on the subject King is addressing and to engage his audience in what he is talking about. For example:
"How long will it take?"

He is

referring to how long will it take the people until racism is gone, African Americans have been waiting over 100 years for equality rights. another example is

"How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?"

King repeatedly uses rhetorical questions to help make a point more clear and to also seek a response.
"In the glow of the lamplight on my desk a few nights ago, I gazed again upon the wondrous sign of our times, full of hope and promise of the future, And I smiled to see in the newspaper photographs of many a decade ago, the faces so bright, so solemn, of our valiant heroes, the people of Montgomery."
Context of Speech
Here, King brings himself into his audience's lives. He tells of a personal experience of his in which he recognizes the perseverance of everyone who participated in the walk.
Martin Luther King's "How Long, Not Long" speech, is sometimes referred to as "Our God is Marching On.""How Long, Not Long" is the popular name given to the public speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after the successful completion of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965. The Montgomery March focused on the public opinion of the civil rights movement.
In this example, King uses repetition to emphasize how much the people have walked in order to achieve their goals.
"Let us march on segregated housing... Let us march on segregated schools... Let us march on poverty..."
Here, King repeats the phrase "let us march on" to list all of the changes that the people are walking for to serve as a reminder for what they're doing and why.
When King says "the conscience of America beg[a]n to bleed," he personifies "the conscience of America." He does this to symbolize the awakening the people of America experienced when the problems that segregation were causing were brought to light.
"The only normalcy that we will settle for is the normalcy that allows judgement to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
In this example, King personifies both judgement and righteousness. He says that "judgement run[s] down like waters," meaning that by not fighting for what you believe in , or "rocking the boat", judgement is constant, and, like water, does not stop.
Full transcript