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Martin Luther King Jr.
Transcript of Martin Luther King Jr.
They will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Effectiveness of Argument
King's argument was incredibly effective. He was capable of swaying the opinions of thousands of white Americans, making them open to the idea of social reform, whilst appealing to his African-American listeners to give them hope for the equality to come. In the end, he accomplished his goal peacefully, setting a positive outlook upon the Civil Rights movement as a whole, thus attracting even more supporters to his cause.
When Dr. King gave this speech, there was terrible inequality between whites and blacks in the South. The horrors of segregation are well-known... Segregated restrooms, segregated restaurants... even segregated bathrooms! Additionally, the legal system was incredibly biased towards the whites, who could do almost anything to any negro and get away with it!
King develops his argument through the usage of figurative language, symbolism, personification, and pathos appeals, not to mention his many allusions to historical documents regarding African American rights. He begins by recalling his people's struggles to induce emotion out of his brothers (pathos), then uses tropes such as figurative language to continually mark the struggles they face. His schemes, like allusions to powerful freedom-filled documents and parallelism, show us our folly as Americans not living up to the ideals of freedom and help us to draw connections between both races to truly equalize them before society.
Within this powerful speech, Martin Luther King establishes the idea that the African Americans are owed a great debt from society, and that now was the time to cash it out. He does this by starting with bleak examples of everyday life within the more racist areas of America, but he slowly transitions to more hopeful subject, such as his dreams for America, to truly make it the land of the free!
August 28, 1963
I Have A Dream
Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King's entire speech is one incredible symbol. "I Have a Dream" was given almost a century after the Emancipation Proclamation upon the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to emphasize that they were not yet free, and that they are "owed" on a check that has bounced.
Martin Luther King Jr’s speech takes place outside of Washington where he and around 250,000 African American protesters fought for equal rights. He and his followers led a historic march to Washington where he then gave his famous speech, "I Have a Dream," in front of one of the largest crowds he had ever spoken in front of. Additionally, his last few minutes were all improvisation. Prompted by the audience to "tell them about the dream," he began explaining his ideal America, his "Dream Land." As such, these last few minutes were incredibly rousing and hopeful to the crowd, who absorbed it all gratefully.
This speech took place during the 1960's, when segregation and discrimination were at their high. There were often separate restaurants, bathrooms, even drinking fountains depending on the race of the person. Many African Americans were unhappy with their treatment, especially because the Emancipation Proclamation granted them their "equal rights." Some underwent violent protests to gain their rightful equality, but those under Martin Luther King Jr. were encouraged to stage more peaceful protests. He did not want his followers to be full of hatred and bitterness. Shortly before he gave this speech, he and thousands of African Americans marched towards the Lincoln Memorial as they peacefully fought for their rights.
King uses a plethora of figurative language throughout this speech, primarily metaphor.