The racial crisis in Birmingham, Alabama, was a critical turning point in the struggle for African American civil rights. Although King's letter was not published until after the Birmingham crisis was resolved, it is widely regarded as the most important written document of the modern civil rights movement and a classic text on civil disobedience.
This article is the latest in a series of video speech critiques which help you analyze and learn from excellent speeches. Martin Luther King Jr. Read the analysis in this speech critique; Study the speech text in the complete transcript; and Share your thoughts on this presentation.
Much of the greatness of this speech is tied to its historical context, a topic which goes beyond the scope of this article. Emphasize Phrases by Repeating at the Beginning of Sentences Anaphora repeating words at the beginning of neighbouring clauses is a commonly used rhetorical device.
Repeating the words twice sets the pattern, and further repetitions emphasize the pattern and increase the rhetorical effect. But this is just one of eight occurrences of anaphora in this speech.
By order of introduction, here are the key phrases: The most commonly used noun is freedom, which is used twenty times in the speech.
This makes sense, since freedom is one of the primary themes of the speech. Consider these commonly repeated words: Utilize Appropriate Quotations or Allusions Evoking historic and literary references is a powerful speechwriting technique which can be executed explicitly a direct quotation or implicitly allusion.
Consider the allusions used by Martin Luther King Jr.: Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. One way that Martin Luther King Jr. This is not accidental; mentioning Mississippi would evoke some of the strongest emotions and images for his audience.
Additionally, King uses relatively generic geographic references to make his message more inclusive: Use Metaphors to Highlight Contrasting Concepts Metaphors allow you to associate your speech concepts with concrete images and emotions.
To highlight the contrast between two abstract concepts, consider associating them with contrasting concrete metaphors.
For example, to contrast segregation with racial justice, King evokes the contrasting metaphors of dark and desolate valley of segregation and sunlit path of racial justice. The formatting has been added by me, not by MLK, to highlight words or phrases which are analyzed above.
This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.
It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.
One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.John Manfredonia.
Cas H. Rhetorical Analysis. On August 28 th, , Martin Luther King Jr presented one of the most rhetorically inspiring speeches ever initiativeblog.com the “I Have a Dream Speech,” Dr. King presented this speech to the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” (1) group.
“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most memorable speeches of all time. It is worthy of lengthy study as we can all learn speechwriting skills from King’s historic masterpiece. This article is the latest in a series of video speech critiques which help you analyze and.
Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, where he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, on August 28, Central Press/Getty Images.
On August 28, , Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march on Washington, D.C. The speech he gave that day is one of the best known in American history.
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