Examining the Rhetorical Devices Used in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” Speech

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Aug 18, 2023
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  2
Order Original Essay

How it works

There are a lot of memorable names throughout history that, no matter how many times you hear about them, immediately make you think of the impact that person had on history. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of these names. He was a man who stood tall for his people and fought for their freedom. In spite of all odds against him, one has to ask, what motivated him to make such radical movements? Delving into MLK’s life, you quickly understand the reasoning behind all his hard work and dedication.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

America had many problems during the time period after WWII but seemed more concerned with external affairs rather than those in their own backyard. Armed with unyielding faith, persistent determination, and remarkable kindness, MLK became one of the most revered and motivated men in American history. To fully grasp the bitterness and injustices that black people faced during this time, we need to delve into the roots of this prejudice. Around 1620, Dutch and British ships began to sail along the Western coast of Africa. Their original plan involved sailing along Africa and reaching Asia to acquire its spices and other foreign commodities.

Global demand for these commodities was high. Eventually, these ships started landing on the African Coast to stake claim to certain regions. In doing so, they encountered native tribes willing to trade with the Europeans. The European’s primary interest was slaves, who were marketed as workers. The native tribes captured people from other tribes and traded them with the Europeans. We all know that these slaves were eventually gathered, either purchased or seized involuntarily, loaded onto ships and set sail for the Americas. This was when the stereotype against black people was formed. They were called “Negros,” and in every aspect, were looked down upon as if they weren’t even human. They were insulted, beaten, sold like cattle in auctions to the highest bidder.

Many were separated from their families and would never see them again. They were immediately instilled with duties which included “…two activities: love of master – right or wrong, good or bad – and loyalty to work” (Parr, 8). Derogatory attitudes and aggression toward the slaves persisted long after the end of the Civil War. Although it was claimed that black people in America received their freedom post the Civil War, the reality was far different. They continued to be treated like less than human, and were respected by no one, except perhaps other blacks. Some were practically enslaved, with their condition euphemistically termed “sharecropping.” The United States was a racial disaster, and not much was being done to fix it. However, change was imminent and would be ushered in by one extraordinary man. On January 15th, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born.

His parents were Alberta King and Martin Luther King Sr. Often referred to as “Daddy King,” MLK Sr. was a sharecropper for most of his life and was thought to be illiterate. Eventually, however, he acquired a degree in Theology and became a preacher (Parr, 2018). MLK Sr. may have been in tune with the Lord and may have taught his children everything he believed to be right, but he still couldn’t shield his kids from the turmoil and suffering of black people that occurred on an everyday basis. Tragically, his children had no choice but to grow amidst this turmoil. As he grew up, MLK Jr. was influenced by the thoughts of Wilt Borders, who “believed in empowerment through education” (Parr 10). MLK Jr. embraced the same ideology, realizing that people who made important contributions were generally those with an education. After high school, MLK Jr. went on to attend Morehouse College for Ministry studies but majored in Sociology. To pay for his tuition, he worked in tobacco fields, earning a meager 5-7 dollars a day. After college, despite being from the South, MLK Jr. made frequent visits to the North.

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Examining the Rhetorical Devices Used in Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech. (2023, Feb 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/examining-the-rhetorical-devices-used-in-martin-luther-king-jr-s-i-have-a-dream-speech/