Martin luther king jr speech summary

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martin luther king jr speech summary

The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s Dream by Gary Younge

The speech of Martin Luther King of August 28, 1963 is probably the most significant speech in U.S. history.

It’s recorded so we can still feel the emotion, the building cadences, and the moral righteousness of what Dr. King was exhorting the American people for.

As the author says this was “the” speech for Dr. King – it was in Washington D.C., it was for all audiences –black, white, the media, government legislators and leaders.

We are provided with the historical lead-up. Dr. King had recently been jailed in Birmingham. The Kennedy’s initially tried to dissuade the “March on Washington”. Dr King at the time was still an unknown entity to the majority of the American people. The Civil Rights Movement was not supported by most Americans – it was looked upon as asking for too much.

And during the speech we are told that about two-thirds of the way through Dr. King began to improvise – to move away from the prepared text. By this it does not mean that he made up words on the fly, but he skipped a portion of the prepared text and then spoke extemporaneously using parts of speeches that he had used in the past, but fitting them into the Washington context. Dr. King was a master speechmaker and as the author says he knew how to make the proper “landing space” for the conclusion of his oratory.

There is also a discussion of the legacy of the speech. Dr. King’s fame had diminished by the time of his assassination in 1968. His moral indignation with the Vietnam War and his continuing campaign against the disenfranchised (the poor and downtrodden) had made him a pariah in many circles – particularly the government. After his death it took many years for the Washington speech to achieve the stature that it has today. As the author states, among other subjects, this speech is indignant of segregation, racism, poverty, war and violence. Many of the issues of the speech are still with us today (in the last few years there has been a whittling away of the Voting Rights Act). But nevertheless, the speech is so strongly optimistic with such a tremendously overpowering dreamscape – of what can be and should be.

As an aside, here is an excerpt from a group of SNCC workers who were directly involved in the physical confrontations of the struggle for racial equality in the American South. They were watching the speeches on a TV that day in a tent about a mile from the Lincoln Memorial:

Page 945-56 Reporting Civil Rights, Part Two: American Journalism 1963-1973

“Then something unforgettable happened. Martin Luther King, Jr. began to talk. We greeted him with crude witticisms about “De Lawd”. Then that rich, resonant voice asserted itself and despite ourselves we became quiet. About halfway through as image built upon stirring image, the voice took on a ringing authority and established its lyrical and rhythmic cadence that was strangely compelling and hypnotic. Somewhere in the artful repetitions of the “Let Freedom Ring” series, we began – despite our stubborn, intemperate hearts – to grunt punctuations to each pause...
By the time the oration triumphantly swept into its closing movement – an expression of faith and moral and political possibility, delivered in the exquisite phrasing and timing of the black preacher’s art – we were transformed. We were on our feet, laughing, shouting, slapping palms, hugging and not an eye was dry. What happened that afternoon in that tent was the most extraordinary, sudden, and total transformation of mood I have ever witnessed.”

The entire speech (about 17:00 minutes)


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Published 14.12.2018

Martin Luther King Jr.: I Have a Dream (ENG)

Martin Luther King I Have a Dream Essay

Martin Luther King Jr. Many regard it as the greatest speech of the twentieth century and, more than that, one of the greatest speeches in history. Though King was one of several featured speakers that day, "I Have a Dream" became synonymous with the aims of the march and the entire civil rights movement. His dream represented the dream of millions of Americans demanding a free, equal, and just nation. A scholar and a pastor, King was able to combine academic, political, and biblical elements in his "I Have a Dream" speech. When delivering his address, he spoke with accessible language and used repetition to drive home important points; the phrase "I have a dream" is repeated nine times in the speech. Though King had a script in front of him, as the speech progressed and the crowd responded, he began to improvise his message.

Here, we provide I have a dream speech summary for students that are looking to know more about the iconic speech which shook the American public and is widely regarded as the best Amerian speech of the 20th century by poll conducted by scholars of the public address. It was delivered at Washington in March for equality and freedom, in front of , people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial who witnessed the historic event live. King also mentioned the problems that African Americans faced but he along with all the other leaders remained rather calm to avoid any provocation which might hurt the cause on this day. He motivated his followers to keep protesting up-until they were granted equal rights and appeared very hopeful. Martin Luther King Jr was named Man of the year, and become the youngest person to be awarded a noble a prize. The former head of the federal Bureau of Investigation: William C. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.

Delivered to over , civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. Beginning with a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation , which freed millions of slaves in , [4] King said "one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free". The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was partly intended to demonstrate mass support for the civil rights legislation proposed by President Kennedy in June. Martin Luther King and other leaders therefore agreed to keep their speeches calm, also, to avoid provoking the civil disobedience which had become the hallmark of the Civil Rights Movement. King originally designed his speech as a homage to Abraham Lincoln 's Gettysburg Address , timed to correspond with the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. This speech discusses the gap between the American dream and reality, saying that overt white supremacists have violated the dream, and that "our federal government has also scarred the dream through its apathy and hypocrisy, its betrayal of the cause of justice". King suggests that "It may well be that the Negro is God's instrument to save the soul of America.

Complete summary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of I Have a Dream speech.
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I Have A Dream By Martin Luther King

We know that the name "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" is a little bit of a mouthful—but this is to pressure the Washington establishment to pay more attention to civil rights and take legal steps to outlaw segregation is one of those things that you have to know about. Whether or not you're a history buff or someone who's only vaguely aware of the fact that was a pretty big year, get your knowledge on when it comes to the March on Washington for a couple of reasons. Reason 1: it was one of the largest protest marches in American history…and that's a history that has contained a lot of marches. Reason 2: Martin Luther King, Jr. There were so many speakers that day that by the time he came to the podium and delivered "I Have a Dream," some people had already left, like people leaving during the fourth quarter of a basketball game. Oh, never mind. We're more that happy to lay out the text of "I Have A Dream," even though it starts our bottom lips quivering and our normally cynical hearts turning to hopeful mush.

The speech took place on Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. Martin Luther King, Jr stated his dreams of what America should be like, equal for all colored people, including blacks. African Americans should have civil rights equal to that of white men. The system is unfair, but African Americans want to believe that it is not. Even though many. Commentary on Martin Luther King, Jr.

5 thoughts on “The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s Dream by Gary Younge

  1. The eloquent speech was immediately recognized as a highlight of the successful protest, and has endured as one of the signature moments of the civil rights movement.

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