Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have A Dream Speech

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During the mid-20th Century, the racism against African Americans was a huge issue and, in order to combat this, multiple civil rights activists and groups appeared. One of the most notable was Martin Luther King Jr. from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (“Martin Luther King Jr. Biography” 1). During this time, Dr. King stood upon the Lincoln Memorial and delivered one of the most remarkable speeches ever received— his “I Have a Dream” speech. Before thousands of citizens, Dr. King stood, pleading for the attainment of racial justice and equality among his fellow American citizens. As an advocate for civil rights, Dr. King did not only deliver this speech to the African Americans of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”…show more content…
uses righteous references and intense repetition in order to evoke inspiration in his audience to take a nonviolent action in standing up for equality. Dr. King uses the rhetorical strategy of referencing sacred texts in order to form a connection between his arguments and what is considered righteous by many. In his speech, he alludes to verses in the Bible, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Large quantities of the American population at this time were churchgoers and held the Scripture in high esteem, especially in the south where this speech is directed. When King writes “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream,” he is directly alluding to Amos 5:24 (4). The usage of this verse supports his assertion that the “devotees of civil rights” will be satisfied only when justice travels freely throughout the nation. The opportunity to have a nation with an outpouring of justice as implied in the verse motivates the crowd to join his movement towards a racism-free way of life. Another biblical reference is when King dreams that one day, “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together” (5). This declared his vision for a new America where all would be touched by the

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