MLK One of the Most Famous Public Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:


One of the most famous public speeches in American history was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The context of the speech is important: millions of Americans were growing tired and fed up with the lack of progress made with civil rights and equality. As Mount (2010) puts it, "In 1950's America, the equality of man envisioned by the Declaration of Independence was far from a reality. People of color -- blacks, Hispanics, Asians -- were discriminated against in many ways, both overt and covert." King grew up in the South and had personally experienced racism and discrimination. He also understood the need to work systematically to eliminate oppression and injustice. In 1959, something momentous happened in King's life that would ultimately lead to his earning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to India in 1959 and met Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi. Already familiar with Gandhi's movement based on nonviolent resistance and civil protest, King was now able to formulate a comprehensive and strategic plan of action that would help dismantle the barriers of racism in America without a call to arms. "During these discussions he became more convinced than ever that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom," (Chew, 2011).

King organized bus boycotts in Alabama when he was a pastor, making him a powerful and influential community leader. Although King had the support of many organizations in America, he was not acting on behalf of any one group. King advocated on behalf of all oppressed people and especially the African-American community. He was unafraid of breaking unjust laws and was in jail several times. In fact, another one of King's famous pieces of rhetoric was written from inside the Birmingham jail. In the letter, King (1963-b) writes to his fellow pastors that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The "I Have a Dream Speech" King delivered that same year is directed to a broader audience of Americans. King's ultimate goal in all his actions and words was "to completely end the system of segregation in every aspect of public life" and to make the United States live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all (Chew, 2011). So tremendous was King's work and so powerful was his message and the way in which he delivered it that he would work with the President of the United States as well as receive the Nobel Peace Prize both by the time he was 35 years old. The legacy of Martin Luther King continues, as Americans continue to fight for peace and social justice. Recent "Occupy Wall Street" protests carry with them the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The "I Have a Dream Speech" was delivered in the context of a massive march in Washington, D.C. Known as the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," it "included other religious leaders, labor leaders, and black organizers," (Mount, 2010). More than 200,000 people took part in the march, which was ultimately "successful in pressuring the administration of John F. Kennedy to initiate a strong federal civil rights bill in Congress," ("March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" n.d.). That Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was among the most important pieces of legislation created in the 20th century. Although not the first march of its type, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the most successful and memorable. King himself called it, "the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation," (King 1963). It was at the tail end of the procession that King delivered "I Have a Dream" to millions of Americans, as it was broadcast live on television.

The "I Have a Dream Speech," like King's other rhetorical works, is effective because the speaker uses pathos, ethos, and logos throughout the address. Moreover, King's voice is compelling. He uses changes in pace and tone, emphasizing some words to impart a lyrical and musical quality. When listening to King's speech, it is easy to imagine his past as a pastor. Although King does not rely on religion in "I…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"MLK One Of The Most Famous Public" (2011, November 24) Retrieved December 9, 2016, from

"MLK One Of The Most Famous Public" 24 November 2011. Web.9 December. 2016. <>

"MLK One Of The Most Famous Public", 24 November 2011, Accessed.9 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Second Reconstructions One of the Most Dramatic

    Second Reconstructions One of the most dramatic consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction was that the South was effectively driven from national power for roughly six decades. Southerners no longer claimed the presidency, wielded much power on the Supreme Court, or made their influence strongly felt in Congress But beginning in the 1930s, the South was able to flex more and more political muscle, and by the 1970s some

  • Martin Luther King Speech Critical Analysis of

    Martin Luther King Speech Critical Analysis of "I've Been to the Mountaintop" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The last speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered has been popularly referred to as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech (). Dr. King delivered this speech on April 3, 1968 at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. Following this speech on April 4, 1968, Dr. King

  • MLK Jr s I Had a

    " And that "it would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment." The march on Washington and his well-known speech, delivered on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, was a way of keeping up pressure for federal civil rights legislation. This famous speech affected the crowd of approximately 250,000 civil rights supporters who attended the March on Washington, but it has also affected millions of lives, because

  • Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Comparing Their Messages

    Martin Luther King Jr. And Malcolm X: Comparing their Messages Martin Luther King Jr. And Malcolm X are two of the most famous Black American leaders who influenced the African-American's struggle for emancipation during their lifetimes and left legacies that have proved to be even more influential after their premature deaths. Both leaders were contemporaries with similar goals but with widely different personalities and equally contrasting strategies for achieving them. Both men

  • Martin Luther King Through the

    With faith comes confidence. A person that stands on faith stands on a solid rock that cannot be shaken. When a person of faith walks into a crowd of doubters the sense of confidence is contagious. The most striking characteristic of Martin Luther King's speeches is the faith that he exuded to the crowd. By the end of the speech, the crowd embraced the same faith that change will

  • Martin Luther King s Contribution to

    Martin Luther King's contribution to the Civil Rights movement in America was certainly significant. He was more than just a figurehead with tremendous oratory skills. As an advocate of non-violent protest he helped formulate, and implement, one of the most important strategies of the Civil Rights era. However, his most important contribution to the Movement was his ability to connect with a majority of Americans. His message concerning injustice and

  • MLK S Letter From Birmingham Jail

    He clarifies his status i.e. A spiritual leader and a learned person by using well chosen ethos of St. Aquinas, Jesus and Paul therefore puts him forth as a trustworthy person. Also being an African-American makes him the right person to participate in this event because he understands the situation properly. By use of logos he explains the reason behind the actions of the black persons of which the

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved