Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader and son of a baptist minister in Atlanta, GA. He went on the college at the age of 18 and received several degrees from Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, Boston University, and Chicago Theological Seminary. He was first well known in 1955 after leading a successful boycott against the city’s segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama.
Martin Luther King Jr. was known as the leading spokesman for the civil rights movement along with others like his wife, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. He was published as Man of the Year in Time magazine, 1963 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968.
Before his assassination in April 1968, King was able to deliver one of the most iconic, moving and groundbreaking speeches of the century at the March on Washington in 1963, “I Have a Dream.”
Now that you have watched the video clip, I have some discussion questions that I would like you all to answer in order to think critically about the speech based on the rhetorical devices King uses to get his message, not only across, but remembered and noted for the decades to come.
- What makes this speech so renowned compared to other speeches given since and around the world? Why is “I Have a Dream” noted so highly?
- King uses repetition as a rhetorical device to get people to remember certain key points of the speech, but what is the most memorable part of the speech for you?
- Do you see the vision that King is painting with his words? Do you see his dream?
- Now that it has been a little over 50 years, do you think that his dream has been accomplished? Does America still have some work to do in the department of freeing ethnic people?
Clark, Virginia, and Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa. Language Awareness. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.
LogistiKHD. “Martin Luther King|”I have a dream” Speech” Online video clip. YouTube, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.