By Martin Luther King Jr.). King began the speech slowly, but soon showed his gift for weaving recognizable references to the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and other universal themes (‘I HAVE A DREAM’ SPEECH). At the opening of the speech he gives homage to President Lincoln, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro
Crotts 2 slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity (King 1963). King was just getting started and was trying to stick close to the prepared text but as began moving toward his final words, “Go back to Mississippi. Go back to Alabama. Go back to South Carolina. Go back to Georgia. Go back to Louisiana. Go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair” (King, 1963), it was as if he could sense he was falling short and hadn’t locked in that power he so often found (Younge 2013). Then from behind him, Mahalia Jackson implored him to “Tell ’em about the ‘Dream,’ Martin.” Whether or not King consciously heard, he soon moved away from his prepared text (‘I HAVE A DREAM’ SPEECH).
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- Fall '18
- M. Tomberlin