Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech “I Have a Dream” Analysis

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech on August 28, 1963 in Washington before 250,000 people that helped the civil rights movement so dramatically that it etched his name in history books across the world. Dr. King and his delegates wrote the speech many times over and infamous quote and symbolic words and title “I had a dream” wasn’t even in the final prepared draft that he was supposed to say. He went off cuff and was reiterating that all men were to be created equal in his continued plight of fighting for the equality of African American people and tried to continue what President Lincoln had began prior to his assassination. Dr. King would follow those footsteps until his assassination and pave the way for ending of all inequalities. Dr. King’s masterful use of a technique known as anaphora (1) the repetition of words at the beginning of several sentences) and the parallel structure of the entire speech caused it to become one of the most famous speeches in history. Dr. King’s used pathos (2) (a quality evoking pity or sadness), (3) ethos (beliefs or ideas by which a person or group live by, and (4) (logos- a source that controlled the universe. The way the speech was parallel structured and Dr, King’s unique talent of being able to speak so strong yet so elegantly and his strong descriptive and argumentative informed monotone all combined aided the most famous advocate against violence and inequality deliver one of the greatest speeches in history allowing him a huge platform in his continued efforts of his biggest mission in life, to help all of mankind to continue paving the way and one day there would be no racism in America.

Therefore, Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech about having a dream ended up being one of the greatest our country has ever heard. Dr. King and his colleagues and staff wrote, rewrote, title changed until Dr. King wrote the final prepared draft that was to be read to his listeners that August day. He resonated and connected with all his listeners appealing to their shared desires, and dreams for our country. Dr. King reminded the people that President Lincoln had started the civil rights movement a century prior and the Emancipation Proclamation was created and written because Lincoln believed that all were to be treated equal and Dr. King advocates for the same thing and yet he reminds his audience the here we are 100 years later, and the “negro” is still not free and the slaves were given a “check” that hasn’t been cashed in that America wrote. America had insufficient funds. He spoke to his white listeners and his African American listeners, encouraging all to accept change and not to use violence and that “all men were created equal” should be honored the way that it was meant to be. If there was anything critical, one might want to say of Dr. King’s “I Had a Dream”, speech is that it may be a little long and that he went off script and that prepared speech so diligently worked on and turned out so exceptional because he spoke from the heart with such conviction that he was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine in 1963 and he won the Nobel Peace prize the following year. Maybe one day the fearless actions and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lincoln will be realized completely, and all people shall be equal and we can be more hopeful that newer generations will never know of the racism and inequality that their ancestors may have, and it is only something learned as part of history and the events that led up to things progressing as they have.

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The infamous “I Had a Dream” speech remains one of the top in American history and will continually be used to teach, inspire, encourage, and implement change and justice and equality for all. With noted references from the Bible, and the U.S. Constitution and the strong uplifting tone that Dr. King speaks in it will remain that way for the rest of time. For those that could only read the speech and not hear the audible versions, in my opinion was still a very effective speech

Works Cited

  1. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech “I Have a Dream” Analysis. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from


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