February 20, 2017
Filed under Student Art Corner
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My initial reaction to Dr. Martin Luther’s King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech was heartwarming and heartbreaking. It was amazing viewing him (online) at the Lincoln Memorial where he addressed thousands and thousands of civil rights supporters. It awakens our consciousness to be mindful of everyone’s human dignity. But it is heartbreaking to see that on January 20 of this year (2017), it was declared that America would be “great again” and those words have been put on hold. What was seen a month ago at our Capitol is nothing compared to what happened there on August 28, 1963. King’s speech reminds us to never lose hope, despite the reasons for pessimism in our country today.
If the crowd or the location had been different, King’s rhetoric would have changed. The place where the speech took place was ideal. Being at the Lincoln Memorial was a reminder of the emancipation of slaves. If 100 years ago (1863) many enslaved people were free in certain states thanks to Abraham Lincoln, the 1963 government could end racial segregation and discrimination against African-Americans. The crowd was composed of a large number of blacks who operated with a flag of peace. The only people that were arrested were four white people. The peaceful, unified demonstration gave force and authority to King’s words.
His speeches, “Beyond Vietnam” and “I Have a Dream” have similarities and differences. By proclaiming King’s opposition to the war in Vietnam, his objective was to inform and educate in a lecture style. With his speech “I Have a Dream,” he wanted to inspire and motivate black people in a way that they would feel connected and united. The similarity they have is that they both meet the needs of that particular moment in history making the speeches timeless.
I believe “I Have a Dream” had stronger rhetoric because it employed repetition, metaphor, and simile. His voice and dictation were very precise to deliver the speech. We may not forget that he was viewed and heard by many on television and the radio. Although very controversial, “Beyond Vietnam” portrays more evidence because it directly challenged the president (and many of his colleagues in the civil rights movement). In this speech, King recounts the history of the Vietnamese battle and compares Americans to Germans in Europe. A speech that is well prepared and evidence-based. In my personal opinion, I consider “I Have A Dream” as being the most powerful and compelling speech. Why? Simply put, it touches my heart everytime I hear or read it. It expresses our hopes, dreams, fears, and aspirations in any given moment of our lives. It comes to live especially when we look for strong leaders who will unite a nation instead of dividing it.