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Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech Analysis

831 words - 3 pages

On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King gave one of the most memorable speeches in the history of the United States in front of a quarter million people, a fifth of whom were white. The day started as a massive march "for jobs and freedom", and had numerous famous speakers such as actors Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando. However, the day culminated with King expressing his hopes on the future of his beloved country. In a time when racial injustice was rampant, King managed to inspire spectators of all races and cultures. Soon after Martin Luther King gave his speech, the House of Representatives, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and a year later the Voting Rights Act. This legislation prohibited segregation in public accommodations, as well as discrimination in education and employment; it also removed the right of states to impose restrictions on who could vote in elections. The effects of the speech are undeniable, but what made it so memorable and inspirational, that even over forty years later people continue to look up to it?To understand this, we must first examine the way Martin Luther King was brought up. What first fueled the fire in his heart to fight for desegregation was when he was only six years old. One of his white playmates announced that his parents prohibited him from playing with King; this stuck with him for the rest of his life and motivated him to make change in terms of racial injustice. Martin was illiterate until the age of fifteen and was turned down twice when applying to college. He finally did get accepted and even then, he failed the introductory English class twice as well. However, he was taught to persevere, and that he should be a model of responsible appearance. Almost a third out of the thirty-five classes he took in college were courses in preaching and public speaking. He was also a singer in church choirs and in a cappella groups, which use musical features, such as refrains, accelerandos and recapitulating codas, styles which were later used in the in the "I Have a Dream" speech.Dr. King's rhetoric painted a striking picture, with its use of metaphors, alliteration and anaphora, most notably "I Have a Dream". He made references to the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence which helped people relate to other notable events in the past and understand that the liberty and equality that had been promised, had not been delivered; or as...

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