Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech that was titled “I Have a Dream” and that was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on August 23, 1963, was indeed a defining speech at a defining moment of history (Cessqc, 2010). The speech was full of colorful, vivid imagery, as well as symbolism. For example, at the beginning of the speech where he began by lamenting on the precarious justice system in the United States that was tilted against the Negros, he figuratively used the terms “promissory note,” “insufficient funds,” and “bank of justice” (Cessqc, 2010) to refer to the imbalanced justice system in the United States that exposed people of color to persistent injustices.
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The delivery of the speech at the Lincoln Memorial was ultimately symbolic because it worked well in coinciding with the declaration of universal human rights. The other key element of style in this speech was repetition. Dr. Luther King repeated the words “I have a dream” throughout the second half of the speech. These repetitions in the sentence structure effectively emphasized the message of hope that despite the present challenges, the prospects of change for the present and future generations were still promising.
As for the voice, the speech was laden by tone, inflections, and pauses that effectively emphasized the message in addition to demonstrating the gravity of the matter at hand. The tone of the speech had variations of courage, defiance, sombreness, and sorrow.
For example, 12 minutes and 37 seconds in his speech recorded in the YouTube.com video, Luther’s voice trailed off as he emotionally charged, “even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I have a dream…” (Cessqc, 2010). The speech was also marked by many pauses and interludes whenever the crowd interjected with cheers of approval. There were also characteristic pauses each time Dr. Luther King uttered the words “I have a dream” before he proceeded to drop the bombshells that preceded the words.
Dr. Luther King further exhibited many non-verbal cues throughout the speech. There were many instances when he symbolically gestured at the crowd in anger and frustration that was remonstrative of the precarious circumstances that people of color were experiencing in the United States. He kept on gesturing with his fist and hands when he wanted to emphasize urgency, concerns, defiance, anger, intimidation, hope, or when he wanted to signify the urge for victory in the fight for freedom and equality.
The content of this speech was very powerful, particularly with respect to the prospects and hopes for the future. Dr. Luther King clearly articulated his vision and aspirations for the future. He particularly echoed his visionary perspective when he commented, as captured in the YouTube.com video, that he had dreams of seeing his four children enjoy rights and freedoms, they are exposed to judgments based on the individual capabilities rather than on their racial background. His utterance about his hopes of seeing little black children mingling freely with little white children was the hallmark of his encapsulating vision.
The content articulated by Dr. Luther King in the hilarious speech definitely captured a promising strategy that adamantly called on granting long-delayed justice to the Negros while giving room for hope and negotiations. His unyielding stance on the rights and freedoms of the color people carried the strategy of sinking the message home to all the audiences that the achievement of justice to all was achievable through non-violent means.
Cessqc, (2010). I have a dream… the march in Washington. YouTube. Web.