Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta,Georgia. He was one of the most electrifying speakers in the modern age. Kingwas a social activist and a Baptist preacher who led many marches and foughtfor the equality of African Americans. He led historic events such as theMontgomery Bus Boycott, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the March onWashington, which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for such anastonishing career.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the mostpowerful speeches in history at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Thisspeech sparked a new generation in black history with millions of peoplewatching him with inspiration and hope for change. He wanted to enddiscrimination and bring equality and freedom across the nation. King wantedpeople to see a new path and persuade the audience to come together for unityand peace. King used great rhetorical skills like demonstrating Ethos, Pathos,and Logos in this powerful speech to illustrate that racism and segregation isstill alive however it will not be accepted for this nation. This paper willdiscuss how Martin Luther King Jr.
wanted to make an impact with this iconicspeech and motivate this nation to fight for civil rights and freedom.August28th, 1963 Dr. King begins his speech by reflecting on the past anddemonstrating why the African Americans still do not have freedom. He talksabout the rise of segregation and how the nation needs to rally from racialinjustice to a solid brotherhood.
His speech opens with a lot of ethical,logical and emotional reasoning towards his audience. Most of his speech wastargeted towards the African American’s in that era. Immediately Dr. Kingstarts by saying, “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down inhistory as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation”.
(King) This demonstrates a strong emotional statement. Then he begins using therepetition of words showing ethical or moral reasoning. He begins to say, “Onehundred years later the life of the Negro is still badly crippled by themanacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination”.
(King) As he repeatsthis he is referring to the Emancipation Proclamation targeting the AfricanAmerican audience stating that they are still in bad conditions and in need of change.Using logical reasoning Dr. King says, “America has given the Negro people a badcheck, a check which has come back marked “insufficient fund”.
(King) Meaningeveryone in the audience can understand or relate to being given a terriblecheck or a check with no value. Dr.King demonstrates the rhetorical power of his speech by using metaphors andsymbolism to affect his audience. Explaining that equality must be realized forall races and not just African Americans. Symbolizing unity Dr. King says, “Wecannot walk alone”. (King) He also says, “The Negro community must not lead usto distrust all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced bytheir presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied upwith our destiny”.
(King) As Dr. King says, “No, no, we are not satisfied, andwe will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousnesslike a mighty stream”. (King) This metaphor that Dr. King uses shows thatAfrican Americans and their like-minded brothers and sisters of differentraces, will not tolerate injustice and want basic human rights for all humanbeings.
The status quo of the pre-civil rights movement needs to be redefinedand not dependent on the color of one’s skin. AsDr. King comes to the close of one of the most important speeches in history heshares his dreams. He creates a very emotional and strong final claim to hiscredibility with the audience. Dr.
King states, “And so even though we facedifficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream”. (King) He is settingan example to the audience referring to the American dream that every race andgender deserve to have. “I have a dream that one day right there in Alabamalittle black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little whiteboys and white girls as sisters and brothers”. (King) Giving reasons foreveryone in the audience to relate and understand his dreams. He sees thenation rising, keeping their word, and living out this saying, “We hold thesetruths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. (King) He knew if theycould come together as one this nation would be stronger than ever. Dr. King’s incredibleuse of rhetoric in this powerful speech became one of the most impactful markson American history for equality.
Dr. King closes his speech with one of themost iconic phrases we have ever heard saying, “When all of God’s children,black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will beable to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free atlast, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, we are free at last”. (King) Remarkinga memorable moment in history getting over a million people to stand and fightfor justice. Using his powerful skills to articulate symbolism, emotional,logical, and ethical reasoning to help establish civil rights and freedom forthis nation.