Martin Luther King Speech
October 10, 2014
“But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.”
King uses Parallelism by repeating the phrase “One hundred years later” numerous times. This repetition grabs the audiences attention by focusing on the long duration of time since the Emancipation Proclamation was written. It stresses how long this quest for freedom has went on without reaching it’s destination.
Stanza 4 (lines 1-4):
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”
King alludes back to the signing of very popular and important historical documents. These are events that majority of America have cultural knowledge of and can mentally relate too. He finds a common knowledge among his audience and uses it to bring them to a common understanding.
Stanza 7 (Line 3):
“Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.”
In this sentence King uses two words that have opposing meanings from each other through the use of end and beginning. He is using Antithesis by taking the negative feelings that endings often bring us and comparing them to the positive and hopefulness of a new beginning. It gives the audience a sense of closure to the past and an open mind to a clearer future. He also makes the statement more aggressive by separating the words by a sharp comma instead of using a more fluent transition of wordflow.
Stanza 7 (Lines 1,2,3):
“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.”
King creates a sense of connection between him and the audience by referring to them as “my people”. This makes the audience feel like they are a part of him and his dream, and that if they work together they can reach it.
Stanza 3 (Lines 4-6):
“One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”
King compares African American’s current living situation to being on a lonely island of poverty. He is portraying…