On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against racism during the Civil Rights movement in order to fight for equal rights for every race and end discrimination against African Americans. During the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968), there were many acts of civil disobedience, which led to violence and even deaths of the protesters. There were also many nonviolent protests, such as sit-ins, marches, and speeches, to get people’s attention so that their voices would be heard and their desires fulfilled.
Martin Luther King believed in the nonviolent approach to gain the ights he desired because in his opinion, it was the most powerful weapon against any enemy. In the midst of a nonviolent protest on August 28th, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes a very memorable rhetorical appeal in front of millions of people for an end to discrimination against blacks and segregation of people with different skin tones. Dr.
King uses his “I Have a Dream” speech to inspire others to fight for what they believe is right and to make others aware of the changes that need to be made for a better future with his emotional and hopeful, as well s logical appeals. On this day in Washington D. C. , the world realized during this impactful rhetoric speech the necessary and important changes that were about to occur in order for everyone, no matter their skin color, to gain the equal rights and privileges that they all deserved.
Dr. King talks about past knowledgeable figures and events to show his ethos in his speech. He describes significant figures to back up his credibility to speak about the rights that everyone should receive. “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation” (King). Dr. King is referring to Abraham Lincoln, whose statue is behind him at the Lincoln Memorial, and when he signed the document that freed all African American slaves in 1863.
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. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (King). He is describing the given rights to all Americans and expresses ow America has failed to deliver those rights because of the inequality and discrimination going on today.
Both of these documents written by the impactful leaders of our nation were used to represent the rights that every single person should receive. Therefore, Dr. King uses them to show the audience how the laws and rights given are not being executed and causing the citizens to be cheated out of they legally deserve. In the beginning of Dr. King’s speech, King introduces his logical appeal to the protesters. He brings up facts of the American past to show everyone how long the mistreatment of the Negro has lasted.
He also repeatedly brings up God to express to the people from a religious aspect how the Lord would like the world to be in order to encourage change. “One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” (King). Even after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the African American people are still not free and still seen as lower and unworthy because of their skin tone. Dr. King wants America to realize that the Negro is continually discriminated against.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory ote, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds” (King). America has totally forgotten the promise it made to give equal rights to all people and instead made the African American subordinate and unworthy of the rights. “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children” (King).
He brings up God to appeal to religious people and convince them that we are all equal in God’s eyes so now should be the time where we change the injustice in the world today. King wants it to seem as though God is on the side of the people. Throughout Dr. King’s speech, he has a powerful tone and hopeful diction to show his commitment to the cause and his own desire for equality. He expresses towards the end of his speech hope for a better future for all races as well as his faith in the people to unite together as one. “As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead” (King).
He wants the crowd to know that he is standing by their side in this battle for rights and that they need to stick together and continue to move forward toward the future no matter the hardships. “With his faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope” (King). He expresses that if they stick together they can morph the hardships into something brighter and better. People often describe their challenges as mountains that they must knock down to overcome which is how Dr. King views the challenge of segregation.
He also describes their hope as a stone; rocks are commonly referred to as peoples foundation which represents Dr. Kings view on their hopeful future and how if they stick together, they will have a sturdy and hopeful future. “And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, hen we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last!
Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! ” (King). This is Dr. King’s closing line in his speech where he begins to raise his voice to get the crowd excited for what is in store. Hearing his powerful voice to close out his speech with words of hope and nification of the nation leaves the people remembering his protest and ready for change. By the end of Dr. King’s speech, he begins motivating his people and providing hope to them. His most impactful and inspiring pieces of his speech are found in its pathos. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream” (King). Dr. King’s dream is for everyone, not just blacks or whites, he sees a better and harmonic future for everyone in the United States of America.
He also sees all Americans facing difficulties but dreaming of a time where they an face them together and get through it no matter what they are up against. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their skin but by the content of their character” (King). This appeals to all the families, especially fathers, who want the best for their children and providing a human emotional appeal to all Americans. “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together” (King). Again, Dr. King uses his religious appeal to show how the Lord is above us all and everyone, no matter their skin color, will glorify him together.