Many icons still use such phrases to unite people and carry out campaigns and rallies, especially the concluding paragraphs of “I have a dream” speech: "And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (Herst, 2007). This has remained a uniting factor among Americans and reminds them of civil rights movement that alleviated racial discrimination and injustices. The speech has consistently depicted America as a country whose credo is liberty and justice for all and that the country men must live up to the precepts of the nation with all of its children (Frady, 2002). Martin Luther King Jr presented his speech as a civil rights activist not only black Americans but to all people of Americans. The speech has since promoted idea of unity and equality. The goal of the speech was particularly for Americans to understand and agree with him. The speech remains important to the public as it brings the issues of society that affect entire America logically and emotionally. Another importance can be drawn from the issue of civil rights that was clearly brought up by the speech: Martin Luther King Jr used rhetorical strategies to the audience that was racially mixed and viewed them as equal and not different in any particular way. The memory of the public cannot escape the...
Martin Luther King Jr presented his speech as a civil rights activist not only black Americans but to all people of Americans. The speech has since promoted idea of unity and equality. The goal of the speech was particularly for Americans to understand and agree with him. The speech remains important to the public as it brings the issues of society that affect entire America logically and emotionally. Another importance can be drawn from the issue of civil rights that was clearly brought up by the speech: Martin Luther King Jr used rhetorical strategies to the audience that was racially mixed and viewed them as equal and not different in any particular way. The memory of the public cannot escape the bravery of Martin Luther King Jr, this is because at the time of the speech, there was an enormous amount of controversy that civil rights were facing. Martin Luther King Jr was even arrested few months prior to his speech in one of his anti-segregation dissents and protests, he however continually fought for civil rights. The goal of the speech was to wholly eliminate all problems between the different American races, particularly Black versus White. In his speech he says: “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” (Branch, 2006) From the beginning of the “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr brings the public back to when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the very beginning of America. This Emancipation Proclamation gave hopes and freed all slaves of America. ...Show more
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Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Many regard it as the greatest speech of the twentieth century and, more than that, one of the greatest speeches in history. Though King was one of several featured speakers that day, "I Have a Dream" became synonymous with the aims of the march and the entire civil rights movement. His dream represented the dream of millions of Americans demanding a free, equal, and just nation.
A scholar and a pastor, King was able to combine academic, political, and biblical elements in his "I Have a Dream" speech. He referenced the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Bible. When delivering his address, he spoke with accessible language and used repetition to drive home important points; the phrase "I have a dream" is repeated nine times in the speech. Though King had a script in front of him, as the speech progressed and the crowd responded, he began to improvise his message. The "I have a dream" section of the speech is the most well-known portion of the address, and it was entirely extemporaneous. The power of this section is a testament to King's oratory skills and the conviction with which he spoke. Just as his namesake Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, King and his "I Have a Dream" speech emboldened his followers and changed history.
In the speech, King demands the same justice and equality for black Americans that is promised to all citizens in the Declaration of Independence. While he calls on fellow civil rights activists to persevere in the face of brutality, violence, and oppression, he also cautions against the use of violence. King believed in what Henry David Thoreau termed "civil disobedience," in which individuals use nonviolent means to achieve social change, and studied Mahatma Gandhi's peaceful protests for Indian independence in the 1930s and 1940s. "Again and again," he counsels the crowd, "we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Television played an important role in delivering King's speech to the masses. Recent events in the civil rights struggle had been televised, including police brutality in Birmingham, Alabama, earlier in 1963, and television had become an important catalyst for the civil rights movement. The March on Washington, including King's speech, was broadcast live throughout the country. This allowed leaders like King to reach a new demographic. As William G. Thomas III writes in "Television News and the Civil Rights Struggle":
They had talked to the converted and they had talked to the irreconcilable, but it was the vast mass of Americans who either had no opinion of the matter or did not yet care that they needed to reach.
"I Have a Dream" comprises a large part of King's legacy. Portions of the speech are instantly recognizable and have become part of America's culture. King's dream became the nation's dream, and it did not die when he was assassinated in 1968. That year, his widow Coretta Scott King founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, as a way of furthering her husband's work for change. In 1986, King became the only twentieth-century figure whose birthday has been designated a public holiday, celebrated on the third Monday of January. However, it was not until 1993 that Martin Luther King Day was celebrated in all fifty states.
The text of "I Have a Dream" is widely available on the Internet and is collected in several anthologies and books, including I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, by Martin Luther King, and the American Rhetoric website at www.americanrhetoric.com.
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