Communications Essay DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SPEECH “I HAVE A DREAM” Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15 , 1929 and died on April 4, 1968. He was born Michael Luther King Jr. but decided to change his name to Martin. Both Martin Luther’s grandfather and father were pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Martin Luther carried on the tradition and served as pastor from 1960-1968 (Nobel Prize, 1). He was a big part of the civil rights movement for his race. In fact he was the most important voice in this movement. Dr. King is know for his nonviolent resistance to overcome injustice.
Throughout his life he tried his hardest to make people understand that “all men are created equal”(American Library, 7). Martin Luther King was a member on the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This organization was the leading one in the nation (Nobel Prize, 1). In 1957 Martin was elected the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was an organization to provide new leadership for the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the rights of the African Americans and had no fear in the world.
On August 28,1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the most famous and well know speeches today (Peterson,2) . His speech was named “I Have a Dream”. Dr Martin delivered this speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C. Throughout his speech he informs the people of the injustices that the African Americans are facing. He says the Emancipation Proclamation brought light to millions of Negro slaves but yet how come they are still not free. Africans Americans are still bounded and tied down by the laws of segregation and the discriminating acts they are affected by.
He is saying this speech to show the people that over the last 100 hundred years there has been no change in the status of African Americans and it is unjust. American views the Negros as a bad race and its out right wrong & degrading. He’s encouraging America that now is the most important time to uphold their promises. “America needs to end racial injustice and make justice a reality for God’s children”(Martin Luther King Jr. , 3). He tells the nation that it is fatal to overlook the extreme urgency they are facing. The discontent and anger of the Negros will not end until they receive freedom and equality.
In his speech he shows alternatives to get freedom and equality instead of by violence. Martin says “We must conduct our struggle with dignity and discipline”. Fighting is no way to solve an issue, in fact it only causes more problems. He convinces the people to march ahead and continue the walk and struggle for freedom and equality. Near the end of Martin Luther King’s speech a gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to Dr. King saying, “Tell them about the dream, Martin”. At this point Dr. King stopped reading the speech and expressed his inner feelings saying “I have a dream.. (Mlk, 4). He continued to tell the crowd of his dream for the Negros to be free and equal and that they would be able to live happily and do as they pleased. He had a dream that America would live out the meaning of the constitution stating “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”. He tells the crowd that at the end “We are free at last”. Dr. King’s choice of words and the tone in which he delivers his speech is enticing and pleasing to the crowd of America. The “I Have a Dream” is one of the most important speeches in the history of America.
This powerful speech was merely 17 minutes long. In this speech Martin Luther King, Jr. called for racial equality and an end to discrimination (Mlk, 4). This speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. It was ranked the top American speech of the 20th Century by the 1999 poll. King’s speech wasn’t just a speech it was motivating, persuasive and inspiring. He didn’t only inform the crowd in front of him but rather all the people of America. Instead of using violence he peacefully protested therefore he was able to inspire the citizens of Americans.
Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” was so successful because it affected so many people on such a personal level. His speech came from his heart and it touched the people greatly enough to change their ways. He explained to the crowd that African Americans are the same as white people and that they also have feelings. The only differences is the skin color, therefore they should be treated equally because they are still humans. This era was in desperate need for change. Martin Luther King Jr. was brave enough to take a stand and fight for the rights of his people.
The people saw this as courageous act and were inspired greatly by this. His speech was heard all over the world on television , the radio and by word of mouth. The reason for the success of his speech was due to the use of rhetoric in his speech. “Rhetoric is the practice of communication to target audiences that persuades, informs, inspires or entertains in order to change or reinforce beliefs, values, habits and actions” (Word Press, 5). He used multiple literary devices throughout his speech. They helped to entice the audience and helped him better interact with them.
Dr. King was able to decipher the mood and tone of the audience, which also helped him to better connect with his audience. Martin Luther King added the use of metaphors to make his point of view more visible to the audience. “A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance”(dictionary, 6) . Martin Luther adapted his tone of voice to make it more appealing to the audience. He encourages America to give the African Americans equality and freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. isked everything he was just so that he could make America all that it could become. America was inspired by Dr. King’s use of words and what a brave and bold young gentlemen he was. Another reason he was successful was because Martin Luther King was such a notable and respectful gentlemen. Martin Luther King died on April 4, 1968. He didn’t stop fighting for the rights of his people until he was shot in Memphis, Tennessee. He was not any ordinary man. He impacted the United States greatly. Thanks to Martin Luther King African Americans are now free and equal. Dr.
King is a model that many of us look up to. He is a figure in history that will never be forgotten and his accomplishments will be continued to be told in generations to follow. WORKS CITED PAGE 1) “Martin Luther King – Biography. ” Nobelprize. org. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <http://www. nobelprize. org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio. html>. 2) “I Have a Dream Speech Text Analysis. ” 10,000+ Speech Topics. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <http://www. speech-topics-help. com/i-have-a-dream-speech. html>. 3) King, Martin Luther. “Martin Luther King’s Speech: ‘I Have a Dream’ – The Full Text – ABC News. ABCNews. com – Breaking News, Latest News ;amp; Top Video News – ABC News. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;http://abcnews. go. com/Politics/martin-luther-kings-speech-dream-full-text/story? id=14358231;gt;. 4) “I Have A Dream Speech – Martin Luther King Speeches. ” Martin Luther King Jr. Online – Speeches, Pictures, Quotes, Biography ;amp; Videos in the Public Domain! Web. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;http://www. mlkonline. net/dream. html;gt;. 5) “What Is Rhetoric? | Edu*Rhetor. ” Edu*Rhetor | Rhetoric in Higher Education ;amp; Society. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;http://edurhetor. ordpress. com/about-2/rhetoric/;gt;. 6) “Metaphor | Define Metaphor at Dictionary. com. ” Dictionary. com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary. com. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/metaphor;gt;. 7) “metaphor. ” The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;Dictionary. com 8) “Martin Luther King Jr. ” America’s Story from America’s Library. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. ;lt;http://www. americaslibrary. gov/aa/king/aa_king_subj. html;gt;.