Black History Month: Analysis of I Have A Dream Speech
In this speech which continues to be quoted even till this day Martin Luther King Jr could have undoubtedly been one of the best speaker’s of all time. The backdrop of this speech was the Civil Rights Movement which was sweeping America at the time demanding for equal rights for Blacks. As this movement continued to spread, multiple civil right leaders emerged onto the national stage including MLK and Malcolm X. In MLK’s I have a Dream speech, he used logic, emotion, and different sentence structures to convey his speech clearly to the people.
Throughout the speech, MLK was careful to use logic and not radically charge all white people as bad or call the system not fixable. In order to create his stance more steady, he quoted from the Constitution and reminded Americans of why the Founding Fathers created America. Despite of all the racism which plagued the country, he remained logically optimistic as he saw the system was specially made to provide justice to anyone who asked for it. He stressed the need to complete the task now and not procrastinate as he saw that grasping this moment of sudden awareness in order to continue Reconstruction. He told all Blacks and people seeking justice that it is better not to wait for a system to be repaired or justice to be delivered but to go to action and take advantage of the time.
He appealed by using emotion to reinforce his logic which made his activism appealing and personal rather than close minded and directed to a small group of people. He was not addressing only Blacks but also in his mind everyone around the world. In his mind, he saw a world in which everyone sat around a table of mutuality with the same rights and the same open mindedness. He addressed that activism for Black people in a poignant manner calling for peaceful protests and no hatred toward Whites. His speech echoed the same “malice toward none” which Abraham LIncoln has advocated for. At the end of his speech, he brightly envisioned a happy, bright future- a final destination on the long road toward justice.
He reinforced both his logic and emotion with different sentence structures that emphasized his message even more. In one of the paragraphs, he started three of his sentences with “one hundred years” referring to the years that had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation without any justice. He called the promise of “unalienable rights” to all a note that had not been paid back and the “bank of justice” a place “to cash the check”. In another paragraph, he addressed a plea that all Blacks had- a plea for equal rights, a plea for the end of police brutality, a plea for justice. I have a dream was the echoing cry that rang in Washington DC. He looked beyond racism when he saw the vision that filled people with hope. A future like that would be worth fighting for.
Now in the heat of the Black Lives Matter movement, people are forgetting MLK’s words by engaging in the violent activities of looting and fighting. Tensions run high with police and the dream that MLK envisioned could not seem farther off than it does now. Riots will only raise tensions. America is more radicalized than ever before with not only adults but children being swept up into politics. At times like these, it is crucial to remember MLK’s words.