1963 is the year Martin Luther King made his famous of all speeches ‘I have a dream’ expressing his thoughts and feelings about how black people were treated and how he hoped they would be treated in the near future. In 1963 African-American people in the southern states of USA, which are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, were being treated unequally, discriminated against and people were prejudice towards them. Black people were rated inferior and insecure by the whites, they were intimidated and much of the white population were racist.
An example of this is the Ku Klux Klan who hated blacks and didn’t want the black people to be free so they went around dressed in white robes terrorizing, whipping, shooting and lynching blacks and the government could do nothing about it. Black people were living in the worst conditions, in poverty and ghettos, it is as if they are captives in their own land, like Martin Luther king says ‘The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity’ and ‘The Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land’.
Martin Luther king was worried that the situation might escalate and become like that of South Africa where black peoples earnings were only about half of those of whites. Martin Luther king was also worried that 10 decades ago Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation that ended slavery and was meant to be a new beginning, a new start ‘It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity’ but segregation still continued. Martin Luther king talked a lot about this in his speech and with his eloquent voice he touched upon people’s feelings.
The people that came to hear the speech were either in tears or very angry when King said ‘100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. ‘ ‘It is obvious today that America has defaulted on its promise. ‘ The American law stated that black people were not allowed to go to the same restaurants, parks, schools, libraries, swimming pools and drinking foundations. At shops they had to use side windows and in cinemas they were restricted to the balcony.
They weren’t allowed to vote. There were ‘whites only’ signs everywhere, on buses black people weren’t allowed to sit at the front and if there wasn’t enough space and a white person came on, a black person would have to give up their seat. This system of segregation was known as the ‘Jim crow laws. ‘ But black people knew that these laws were there because of their skin colour and at any cost weren’t ready to accept them, instead they continued their freedom struggle.
In 1955 a women named Rosa parks refused to give up her seat in the bus because she had aching feet and couldn’t stand so she was arrested on the charges of breaking the towns “white first” bus laws. This made Martin Luther king angry and organised a bus boycott and was known as the Civil Rights movement. Since 70% of the people that travelled on busses were black Martin said we will continue our boycott and if the bus company lost money they will rethink their “whites first” attitude.
In 1956 the government passed a law making it illegal to segregate people on buses. This is an example of Martin Luther king’s successive non-violent movement. Early in 1963 king and his supporters launched massive demonstrations to protest at racial discrimination in Birmingham and Alabama. Police used dogs and fire hoses to drive back peaceful protesters, including children. Heavy news coverage of the violence produced a national outcry against segregation. Soon afterwards, President Kennedy Proposed a wide-ranging Civil rights bill to the U. S congress.
King and other Civil rights leaders than organised a massive march in Washington partly to urge congress to pass Kennedy’s bill. On 28th August 1963 over 200,000 Americans, including some whites gathered at the Lincoln memorial in the capital where Martin Luther king delivered his speech “I have a dream”. In his speech “I have a dream” Martin Luther kings intention was to make Black people believe in themselves, he was telling them to be proud of whom you are as he had said in one of his other speeches ” first and foremost we are American citizens.
He was telling them freedom is not far away, he wanted the whole world to know that the black people have a leader that can help rise them to their expectations. He also told them that in the process of gaining freedom they shouldn’t turn to physical violence. “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” but instead “conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. ” Martin Luther king said, ” We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
He used two nouns ‘Bank’ and ‘bankrupt’ saying that The Government has got money, power, to stop segregation, it is not bankrupt. He was saying this to the government and the white people. He was also telling the white people to end discrimination, work together and unite as one nation. “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. ” He then finished his speech off by saying ” I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
He said words like these to give a signal to the people that America was going to have to change. Martin Luther king uses some powerful devices in his speech particularly emphasizing by using repetition. He uses repetition to make his speech sound more powerful, it makes the speech come to live and it appeals to our emotions. He uses repetitions a lot in his speech such as “now is the time” “I have a dream” “go back to”. Another powerful device he uses is direct appeals. He makes direct appeals to the black people as I have said before.
He is telling and urging them not to turn to physical violence “again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. ” He used powerful vivid vocabulary such as “100 years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. ” He is comparing the effect of segregation as the same as being handcuffed. When he says, “seared in the flames of withering injustice,” he was explaining the fact that the pain you feel being a slave is the same as walking through fire.
The device that I found that was most effective was emphasizing, every time you use a word or phrase at the beginnings of sentences the sentence tends to stay in peoples mind and the audience seem to think about it more. Emphasizing makes the sentence more lively and effective as it did to Martin Luther king in 1963, people were sad, happy, and some were even crying. As a result of Martin Luther king’s work and literature life today has changed in many ways. There are no restrictions imposed on black people, ” whites only” signs have been torn down, they are free to go wherever they like.
Because of Martin Luther king we have seen a fast increase in the number of black people in employment and the pay is the same as white people. They are allowed to vote in any state in the USA without being judged by the colour of their skin. Because of martin Luther king, famous black people such as Muhammad ali, Bob marley, Clint east wood and a whole load more, were proud to be doing their job as back people. They got their respect from people because Martin Luther king had ended segregation.
In conclusion I believe that the non-violent freedom struggle that was waged across America should have happened because no living soul can bear the pain of fire. The black people are human beings just like everyone else, how could they possible have listen to what was being said about them and not do anything. They needed to show the world that they were going to fight back, politically and get the rights they deserve. Even though Martin Luther king died at an early age, 39, he lived long enough to see his dream come to life.
He lived long enough to see an end to segregation. Martin Luther king said love each other instead of hating and treat everyone with the same respect regardless of race, religion and status. “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of goods children. ” I think Martin Luther king should be thought of as a political hero and should follow his way of fighting. When he says, ” I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning f it’s creed,” he is also telling other religions to show their real meaning.