“I Have a Dream” as a Perfect Speech

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Martin Luther King JR (MLK), was a gentleman with knowledge and wisdom many take for granted. He also possessed a strong willed determination that allowed him to be valued, believed in, and fostered him the ability to create these as the principles he passed on to others. MLK aimed to share his ideology with both minorities and other individuals throughout society. The sheer passion MLK had as a leader influenced the decision to continuously shine a light on injustices and inequality across minorities at the time. He managed to stay extremely consistent, never falling to those that passed crued judgement, he did not let the potential for riots hinder him, and at one point he was even deemed as a government risk for potentially being dangerous. When in reality, the true “danger” was MLK removing the fear among those that were deemed not good enough and peacefully speaking the truth into them as to bring everyone to equality. MLK did all of this without causing harm to others in hopes of ending the segregation and separation that was still ongoing for many in America. This alone, makes MLK one of the bravest, wisest and greatest men in American history.

MLK in short was a visionary who was well ahead of his time. He had every characteristic needed to be the true charismatic and influential leader he was. He had the ability to unite people together as one, as well as getting people to see themselves as part of the same shared struggle instead of fighting to see whose struggle is worse. MLK took it a step further when he went to organize people into groups, understanding the importance of the power of numbers. It is said that “the greatest leaders of human groups are experts at facilitating such cooperation. Dr. Martin Luther King was such a leader” (Cole,Samantha). With that in mind, those organizers and activists doing their part to seek change today would be very wise to take a page, or the whole book, from MLK’s proactive story. Unfortunately, America can not yet say that the injustices that MLK worked so hard to fight for, have been adequately addressed. Social equality is, in fact, a constant issue in such a diverse nation as America and to this very day is still being fought for. The only true substantial difference today, is that many of the white Americans that once stood as an audience in disgust, will now stand in front as protection for Black Americans who peacefully protest for what is right. Not only for today’s rights, but for tomorrow’s and eighty years from now.

Another key aspect in the effectiveness MLK had was his ability to speak to his audience, both verbally and nonverbally. “One of the most potent things about this speech is his connection with his audience. Dr. King stands tall and strong in front of the crowd, but he is not preaching at his audience. He is with them, using words such as “we,” “us,” “our,” “together.” He became one with his audience. Using these inclusive words keeps your audience interested. You are together on this, and you want to work with them” (Hutzel, Jamie). During his speech, you can also see from MLK’s body language that he was calm and grounded as he delivered his speech in its entirety. The intensity of King’s speech is built through bold statements, tempo and rhythmic repetition. He did this when he used repetition to build on the phrase before and then reinforces that repetition with his ever increasing passionate tone. Ultimately, with him presenting himself so comfortably and speaking in a way that had an upbeat tempo with passion, he was able to draw in the crowds without them losing focus. Even when his speech is listened to fifty years later it reels listeners in, all because of his verbal and nonverbal presence.

MLK also brought a new level of social norms because of the reconciliation between some White and Black Americans. Even though it still faces challenges, he did create the door for the possibility for whites to acknowledge the wrongs done to blacks over the course of American history. It also gave way to White Americans to commit themselves to a better way of being, which is where we should be today. A lot of people who would typically be standing on the sidelines before and perhaps did not know where or how they entered into the discussion of civil rights, were given positive reinforcement by MLK. This positivity affects both then and now, that allows everyone to join in a movement for social justice that they might not have felt was open to them before. In doing so, a new social norm that we use today has arisen where Black Americans can stand up for their beliefs and White Americans can stand alongside them for equality. “He wasn’t just looking for an America with a few of its racial obstacles removed,He was looking for an America that would give people opportunities and chances. He was looking for an America where love had real meaning and was not just a slogan. And it’s hard for us to comprehend that, and hard for us to hear those words that he spoke about economic inequality, about war and peace, about housing segregation, about school and educational inequality” (Yosola,Yosola).

When MLK created his “I Have a Dream Speech”, I am not certain he could have ever planned for it to be used as a sign of continuing the fight for racial equality by a president. That is right, Barack Obama referenced back to MLK in 2013 when he said: “We might not face the same dangers of 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. We may never duplicate the swelling crowds and dazzling procession of that day so long ago.No one can match King’s brilliance, but the same flame that lit the heart of all who are willing to take a first step for justice, I know that flame remains…..That’s the lesson of our past. That’s the promise of tomorrow. That in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it” (LoGiurato, Brett). Although I would not say it has been used to advance other causes, it has been used by people like Obama to keep instilling the values and ideology MLK started all those years ago.

Overall MLK has influenced me greatly, so much so I have one of his quotes in my restaurant for my employees and myself to always consider. The biggest impact for me personally though is acceptance. I grew up in south Alabama and even though we may not have been segregated, I still saw racism happen, realistically I still see it today too. His speech however, reminds me of how far we have all come as a society, that it is okay to love one another. Without MLK I am not sure I would have been blessed enough to be able to bring my high school sweetheart home to meet my family and him be perfectly comfortable like he was. There is so much hate and pain in this country that I am not sure will ever go away but I am grateful to have been raised in a family that grew up teaching the values MLK spoke about and held dear to his heart for us all. I aspire to continue holding those core values he taught my parents so my kids will also teach their children. People are not born racist, they are taught racism.

Work Cited Page

  1. Cole, Samantha. “What Made ‘I Have A Dream’ Such A Perfect Speech.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 18 Jan. 2016, www.fastcompany.com/3040976/what-made-i-have-a-dream-such-a-perfect-speech.
  2. Eikenberry,Kevin. “Communication Lessons from the I Have a Dream Speech.” Kevin Eikenberry on Leadership & Learning, 17 Jan. 2019, blog.kevineikenberry.com/leadership-supervisory-skills/communication-lessons-from-the-i-have-a-dream-speech/.
  3. Hutzel, Jamie. “Jamie Hutzel.” EDC Communications, Jamie Hutzel Https://Secure.gravatar.com/Avatar/63bcff3f7f80b8df5ed86b9c618e2724?s=96&d=Mm&r=g, 11 Nov. 2016, thinkedc.com/three-things-that-made-the-i-have-a-dream-speech-so-memorable/.
  4. LoGiurato, Brett. “OBAMA: ‘The March On Washington Teaches Us That We Are Not Trapped By The Mistakes Of History’.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 28 Aug. 2013, www.businessinsider.com/obamas-speech-i-have-a-dream-50th-anniversary-march-on-washington-2013-8.
  5. YosolaYosola. What Does ‘I Have a Dream’ Mean for Diversity Today? www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/what-does-i-have-a-dream-mean-for-diversity-today.
  6. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cite this paper

“I Have a Dream” as a Perfect Speech. (2021, Jul 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/i-have-a-dream-as-a-perfect-speech/

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