Laura Yassin

Professor Ramos


9 December 2016

The Creative Speech

Martin Luther King was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is most known for his famous speech “I Have a Dream” which was given in Washington DC, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King was dressed up in a black suit, speaking with 6 microphones so that his voice is cleared and touched to all people standing. Around him the crowd cheering and roaring. The speech was given after the March on Washington where more than 200,000 Americans gathered for jobs and freedom in which King calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights especially for African-American people who are being segregated and treated unfairly in the nation. The speech is known as one of the best speeches ever given as it would provoke a change in the minds and hearts of the American people. Dr. King appeals to Ethos because of his credibility, appeals to Logos because of his strong evidence and logic, and to Pathos because of the emotions stemming of his words, tone, and body language.

Appealing to Ethos, Martin Luther King used credibility delivering his speech. “He was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy on June 5, 1955 in Systematic Theology from Boston University” (Melissa par. 1). This makes his speech more effective and considerate to his audience. We also can’t deny the fact that he had worked a lot on his speech. He had done so many research in order to make his words sound real and harmonic. “In preparation, he studied the Bible, The Gettysburg Address and the US Declaration of Independence and he alludes to all three in his address” (Edwards par. 5). He used his studies carefully to make a move. King addressed in the beginning of his speech: “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation.” He used president Abraham Lincoln which has brought a strength into his speech. President Lincoln was a great president who supported Americans during the Civil War. He built a sense of freedom and gained America’s trust. Dr. King also used the Declaration of Independence for his credibility. Dr. King states: “This note was promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’” By Focusing on constitution and Declaration of Independence, he is mentioning how the government have literally failed to keep their promises to the people. This is how it makes the audience more willing to take the speech into consideration by his credibility.


Appealing to Logos, Martin Luther King used strong evidence and logic for reasoning his claims. Dr. King states: “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’” He used the money as it is one of the essentials in life and people can also relate to it. It’s more like an analogy. Another statement that appeals to logic that Dr. king addressed: “As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” He is explaining that the nation is not going to be any better unless discrimination and racism are eliminated, and justice and peace are spread across the whole nation. He also addressed a quote which appeals to logic and primitiveness: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” This is a fact and evidence itself that cannot be denied.

Appealing to Pathos, Martin Luther King chose his words, his tone, and his body language effectively which evoked people’s emotions. The last parts of the speech, he used in every sentence “I have a dream” which is for him racism and discrimination to be eliminated is for now a dream that he hopes one day will be fulfilled. He stated: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.” He uses “the American Dream” in order to appeal for the entire audience. He addressed that his dream does not only concern him, but also concern America in a whole that all of us deserve to have freedom and equality. The tone of his voice while saying the speech has helped it to be more touching and empathetic to people as well regardless of his words. He was obviously affected by the tragedy of discrimination which can also be noticed through his body language and the way he denies racism through the way he stands, moves and nods his head. Also, thinking of his children’s future, he stated: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.” This appeals to people who have children and the hopes for a better future for them away from all the segregation and the abuse.

To come to the end, I would want to say that “I have a dream” speech was, is and will forever be one of the major turning points in American History. It contributed to Americans’ equality rights and justice. The speech will be always remembered and known generation after generation. Regardless of the fact that he died in 1968 through assassination, his good deeds will forever stay alive, and the words of his speech will be forever engraved in the memories of people no matter what.

Works Cited:

Edwards, Stevie. “Analysis of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.” Presentation magazine. Presentation Magazine, 6 May 2010. 5 Dec. 2016. <;.

Melissa. “What Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Doctor of?” Today I Found Out. n.p., 2 May 2014. 5 Dec. 2016. <;.

“I Have a Dream.” The Huffington Post., Inc., 8 Jan. 2013. 5 Dec. 2016. <;.