Dr. Martin Luther King Junior delivered a speech at the Lincoln Memorial almost 50 years ago that electrified the American civil societies. He used different rhetoric features and strategies in his speech to convince his audience to join his noble call for racial justice, and economic empowerment of the black community (Harding 469). Martin Luther’s speech was thoroughly researched with a biblical background and carefully chosen lines that charged the crowd.
The first half of King’s speech uses biblical connections and imageries to picture out an American seething racial injustices nightmare and calls upon like-minded Americans to act (Carson 450). The phrases in King’s speech ‘’we can never be satisfied’’ ‘’we cannot turn back’’ set goals for the American population. It is a strategy to mobilize them never to relent in demanding racial justice and economic equality. Luther’s speech use of imageries depicting the government’s failure to act is evident in the phrase “we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt’’.
The second half of the king’s speech is a strategy to encourage racial tolerance and integration despite the social gaps that exist. “I have a dream…’’ phrases drawn mostly from the bible portray king as a nationalist solely aimed at a united America with a common dream for its people (Harding 472). The phrase ‘’the country, especially at this time, was very Judeo-Christian…’’ aims to discourage racial segregation in America. King’s use of traditional rhetorical devices such as repetitions and rhymes deeply resonate with his audience and memorable speech.
Carson, Clayborne. “Martin Luther King, Jr.: Charismatic leadership in a mass struggle.” The Journal of American History (1987): 448-454.
Harding, Vincent Gordon. “Beyond Amnesia: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Future of America.” The Journal of American History (1987): 468-476.