Christian Long

Martin Luther King Jr.: I Have a Dream

In TED Talks on April 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Extra credit reflection by HERSH T.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Martin Luther King Jr.:  I Have a Dream

I have a dream.

Just that saying alone carries so much that I could potentially stop this blog post at that and the audience would be aware of what was being spoken about. The great I have a dream speech of Martin Luther King Jr. has reverbrated through our society since the moment it was given. Inspiring, uplifting, heartwarming, exciting, fantastic, and remarkable are only attempts of the english language to fully encompass that which is the I have a dream speech.

Given at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., just the placement of the speech gives it enormous historical significance. By speaking in front of the lincoln memorial, Martin Luther King is not only appealing to his supporters but to all supporters of Lincoln himself which is theoretically America. His capturing of the audience in a seemingly accidental way adds to the already heightened appeal of this man. His background as a reverend gives him social credibility already and the fact that he risks everything to participate in the Civil Rights Movement speaks volumes. However, it is not just what he did and where he came from, the real magic of Martin Luther King Jr. is what he stood for.

Martin Luther King Jr. symbolized the freedom that all people want.

It is easy to say that even white people at the time of the Civil Rights Movement were free. However, were they? These African-Americans who were rising up and threatning the society that they had always lived in was in a sense a limit on their freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. was aware of this and there are several allusions to that fact throughout his speech.

The use of repeated phrases was the most profound speaking style that stood out. Throughout he would give a phrase which was seemingly innocent on its own, however, when paired with the penetrating examples he provided moved the audience and gave the phrase, each time he delivered it, more weight and importance. Also, by speaking about an electric topic with such a huge crowd at such an important place gave this speech something which most other speeches lack, a magic. Most experienced speakers are able to draw in a crowd and give a powerful speech, but few are able to truly mesmerize people, and even fewer are able to make audiences hearts throb even after they have passed on. As I was watching his speech, I felt the urge to get up and support him and I was overcome with emotion. The few people who have been able to do that, Gandhi, Hitler, Ceaser, and all other leaders of extreme power, are able to touch the people on such an intimate level that they truly wish for the leader to become successful.

When the vast majority of a population support you, what can you not do?

Many people have praised Martin Luther King Jr. and many have quoted this speech. However, there is a reason for this. One must give praise where praise is due. And here, it is due.


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