Eminent civil liberties leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the largest civil liberties rally ever put together in Washington, DC in 1963. The march pulled up in front of the Lincoln Memorial and it was here that King made his popular “I Have a Dream” speech. He could not have chosen a proper location to do it for it had a symbolic worth. He offered his speech prior to the monolith of a President who, through his speech Gettysburg and his Emancipation Proclamation, mentioned that all males are created equivalent, something King echoed in his speech.
He advised his audience about it when he made reference of Lincoln as “an excellent American.” In preparing his speech, he derived his thoughts and concepts from the Bible, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Declaration. His audience was not just the black individuals present but likewise the whites too. However King also resolved his speech not only to them however to anyone else who were considered marginalized in American society, not just by race however by creed, particularly Jews, (other) Protestants and Catholics whose differing beliefs were considered “alien” if not “hostile” by traditional American society.
He made mention of them at the end of his speech. His speech is divided into 2 parts. The very first part served more of a history lesson to the blacks and to the whites whom he felt neglected or pretended not to understand. Using repetition, he recited the list of the oppression and discrimination the Negro people needed to sustain. He used such expressions as “a century later on” to enumerate these offenses devoted versus the Negroes by partition and the Jim Crow Laws, highlighting the logo designs of the speech.
He would even more include more of their complaints through the duplicated use of other phrases “now is the time” and “we can never be pleased” to drive house the points he raised. He would utilize repeating again at the 2nd part of his speech. This was something King wished to advise the black folk. The latter paragraph was meant for both blacks and whites alike. Moreover, utilizing metaphor, he compared Washington, DC to a bank (of justice) and the factor for coming here was to cash the proverbial check issued to them by the Founding Dads.
It was during these parts ot the speech that highlight his usage of principles which he utilized efficiently and he had the advantage owing to his racial background which allowed him to speak to conviction (King). Additionally, being a preacher and a guy of God, he also made use of scriptural passages to drive home his point, quoting passages from the Old Testament prophets Amos, “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a magnificent stream”(New American Bible, Amos 5:24) and from Isiah, “and the splendor of the Lord will be exposed and all flesh shall see it together” (Isiah 40:4 -5).
The 2nd part of the speech stimulates a sense of hope which functioned as the pathos of the speech. While King painted a rather dark picture of American society in the first part, one might get the impresson he was motivating transformation or civil war. But King eliminated any of these incorrect notion by saying “We should forever conduct our battle on the high plane of dignity and discipline” (King). He exhorted blacks to prove their worth as people of the United States by performing themselves in a civilized manner to show their critics incorrect.
Even though he was exhorting blacks to rise up to the celebration, he was also welcoming the whites, as well as other racial or ethnic group to advise them in the pursuit of genuine unity and he stressed this in the part when he would consistently use the sentence “I have a dream.” He further declared his message by telling all people of all backgrounds to sign up with hands and come together, stating they are all God’s kids and as such are equivalent in His eyes (King).
In conclusion, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is not only a considerable historic speech, but is something abundant in literary detail as King made cautious use of various literary devices, in addition to his background and training, to drive home his points. While on one hand, he exposed the truth of American society, he also gave it hope which it is possible to change American society for the better. As an epilogue, the events that followed his speech verified everything he said though he did not live to see it.