On August 28, 1963 more than 250,000 civil-rights supporters attended the March on Washington. Addressing the protesters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Profoundly, he proclaimed for a free nation of equality where all race would join together in the effort to achieve common ground. King stated his yearning for all colors to unite and be judged by character, not by race. African Americans would not be satisfied until their desire for freedom from persecution, bitterness, and hatred prevailed. Not only were the points in his speech powerful, but also the delivery he gave was so persuading and real that it changed the hearts of many people across America. By using four artificial proofs, mythos, logos, ethos, and pathos, Martin Luther King was able to open the eyes of people who were blinded by the color of skin.
Including cultural legends such as the nations history of justice in his oration, Martin Luther King portrayed a style of mythos. King stated the fact that when our ancestors wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they signed a promissory note that would guarantee the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all men. At the beginning of his speech he also gave a symbolic example that they, in search for equality, have come to the nations capital to cash a check. “One that would provide riches of freedom and the security of justice.” Martin Luther King established a common bond with so many protesters and citizens when he went on to say, “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt…that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” He was trying to prove a point to every American that justice and peace in our nation is not limited to those of a white inheritance. King did not want African Americans to express a feeling of hatred toward all white people. He made an excellent point when mentioning, “…not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny…” By presenting this point in his speech Martin Luther King made known to everyone that he is a man of great character and honor.
Another style King presented quite well was ethos, which is his credibility on his speech. Of course he portrayed this effectively because he himself is an African American, and he knows exactly what kind of segregation and discrimination his black brothers are experiencing. King gives an example by saying, “We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities…as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.” He goes on to say, “Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells…from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.” Not a day would go by that somewhere a black person was treated unequally because of the color of his skin. Martin Luther King addressed to the people such real and visual examples of occurrences happening, that many people finally began to look at the situation in another point of view. Many people started thinking, “Oh, this is wrong.”
King’s portrayal of logos was one technique that he made excellent usage of in his speech. To some people, almost every statement he presented was unforgettable. The organization he used was outstanding. Martin Luther King started his oration by stating the history of America and then going on to explain the reason everyone was gathering there on that occasion. “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children…to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” He mentioned the reality of how things were and the capability of how things could be. King summed up all of his thoughts and points and left most everyone remembering his final, most powerful words, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Finally, the most predominant artificial proof that Martin Luther King presented his audience with was his style of pathos. He approached his audience on the same level as they were on, and spoke not only his heart but theirs’ as well. When he spoke of freedom, justice, and liberty the level of his voice and gestures would emphasize. For example, he said, “This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing,” and he goes on to sing the rest of the verse. People were aware of Martin Luther King’s fervor towards justice because of the stand he chose to make. He didn’t just give a speech. King was the leader of many marches in several different states, and his passion and emotion for ending racial discrimination will not be forgotten.
Martin Luther King is widely known as one of the greatest speakers to ever approach our nation. The impact he made on America was so much more than effective; it was incredible. The speech Martin Luther King gave took place 48 years ago, and even today people remember and quote the words he spoke. Being a man of Christ, he allowed the Lord to use him in furthering the kingdom of God. He is a man that has gone into history, and every child who goes through school is made known of works. Martin Luther King’s passion for the civil-rights movement was so strongly effective and evident that it changed our nation.