Martin Luther King: *I Have a Dream Speech

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, Protestant Reformation (1517-1648)
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Martin Luther King: “I Have a Dream Speech”


S- Speaker O- Occasion A- Audience P- Purpose S- Subject T- Tone

SPEAKER: Martin Luther King is the speaker of the, “I Have a Dream Speech.” Background: • Martin was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia • Martin was a Baptist minister and civil rights activist • Martin played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of AfricanAmerican citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. • Martin received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 among several other honors because of his mighty acts.

OCCASION: Martin Luther King delivered his, “I Have a Dream Speech” on August 28, 1963 at the Memorial in Washington D.C. , during the March on Washington.

AUDIENCE: The, “I Have a Dream Speech” was delivered to an estimated group of 250,000 people. Martin Luther King’s speech was broadcasted on national television and radio companies, this particular speech overall was viewed by millions. Martin Luther King’s words were aimed towards all Americans, and continues to be passed down from generation to generation.

Blacks: The speech gave a message of hope with the promise that the goals of freedom and equality were likely to be achieved. Whites: The speech connected the hope of African Americans, placing them squarely in the context of the American dream.

PURPOSE The purpose of the, “I Have a Dream” Speech was to encourage hope and equality, in a nation of inequality. Martin Luther states, “the life of the black man is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.” He also states that, “ we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

SUBJECT The subject of this speech revolves specifically around freedom. Martin Luther King, wanted to ensure freedom amongst all people, so that diverse people could all eventually come together as one, and walk as one. He wanted to imply a change into the world, and to significantly make it a better place for all. “And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when 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! 3

TONE: Martin Luther King’s tone is very powerful throughout the, “I Have a Dream Speech.” He is very confident and states his desires with much authority, experience, and emotion. Each of the listed tones contribute to the style of this persuasive inspirational speech.

Represents hurt from experience.


Martin successfully combined the use of repetition to leave a powerful lasting impact on his audience, as well as provide a convincing tone. “Now is the time” is a quote that was repeated four times in the fourth paragraph to emphasize the immediate action of his audience. This phrase is used to encourage the blacks to rise up and act with urgency.

“I have a dream” was repeated many times as well. Martin includes parallelism and repetition to engage the audience’s attention, while also signaling that all of his dreams are equally important. Lastly, “let freedom ring” was repeated to declare to the audience that that he is fighting for the country to be equal as a whole, not just one group of people.


Ethos: Martin Luther King uses the Declaration of Independence to add authority. HE states, “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Martin sets up his own credibility through the constitution. Pathos: He strikes emotional values of both black and white people. ‘“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” (Isaiah) He is using the bible to provide a belief and faith in what he is saying is truth, and that all people will stand together. Logos: “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds” This is logic because everyone understands money and that the listener is able to relate to being handed a bad check.


The “I Have a Dream Speech” is a iconic speech in our history. It was very powerful and led to people envisioning the future. The speech had the power to move millions and persuaded people to fight for their freedom. It resolved many issues that out nation was facing such as segregation and freedom.



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