I Have a Dream Speech Text Study Analysis 

The I Have a Dream Speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is perfect inspiring and uplifting public speaking in optima forma by the use of some rethorical methods, including repetition, some living metaphors - he gives inspiration, stays close to identification and waves persuasive elements throughout his speech topics. This historical text was delivered for an enthusiastic crowd at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, in the year 1963.

Below you see my simple analysis of the core public speaking message the speaker conveys. Click on the Video and see where I noted the Roman numerals. (Jump to other pages of my education library for the proper explanations of some terms)


My basic speech topics analysis:

[ Part I: ] Identification and uniting. Martin Luther King identifies the people he talks to as being one of them, he shares the good cause of the gathering, and unites all who participate.

[ II: ] Historical background. He sketches the situation in the past and knits it to the promising step five years ago.

[III:] Repetition and comparison with the state of affairs right now. Preview of what ought to be corrected.

[ IV: ] Why change is needed, by the deployment of classical appeals to emotion, the bare facts and shared values.

[ V: ] Explaining the why. Summary of the goals. Offering the solution for a better life.

[ VI: ] Proves that the alternatives are not good at all. They leave things as they are, cause a poor status quo, and defy more problems.

[ VII: ] The how to change it, proposing, demanding, persuading. This chapter also has elements of problem solutions ideas - he visualizes the practicality of the resolution of the societal conflict, how it will improve lifes, show their effectiveness and the steps in the process.

[VIII:] Persuasion, convincing the people of the central message: change troiugh hope and action.

[ IX: ] Vizualising the main goals by the use of repetition and metaphoric rhetorica.

[ XI of the I Have a Dream speech: ] Concluding the thesis statement in one rewarding mantra-like phrase: Free At Last!

Martin Luther King, Jr. about public speakingABOUT THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

In the 1950's and 60's the well-known and celebrated Baptist minister was the leader of a non-violent movement that strived for racial equality.

In 1964 King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On August 28, 1963.

He organized a protest march on Washington, D.C. and intercommunicates his famous words. Nowadays, fifty years later a lot of older television viewers remember where they were and what they did at the very moment Martin Luther King spoke: