Address the stances that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. takes in his "I Have a Dream" speech?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the reasons why Dr. King's speech is so compelling is that it strikes so many stances on so many issues.  There is an obvious political stance taken in how Dr. King forces the issue of Civil Rights for people of color, in particular African- Americans, as one that will end up defining the political scene of the 1960s.  At the same time, Dr. King is able to strike a tone of ethics and morality in his elevation of Civil Rights as something that exists in more than a political realm.  In making the issue of one's "dream" a moral imperative, an ethical absolute, that has to be respected by those who believe in Christianity as well as humanism, Dr. King is able to strike a moral stance in his speech.  It should be noted that the preface to the speech was the assembly of people for “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”  This helps to bring out that Dr. King strikes a social and materialist point of view, suggesting that the ability to dream comes from the opportunity in being able to believe that one's efforts can have monetary competition in the workplace.  The desire to reform minimum wage, creating job opportunities for people of color, as well as support for an anti- discriminatory policy paradigm are all elements that help Dr. King strike a stance for greater economic equity, as well.  Finally, Dr. King asserts a historical stance in how he creates the argument that a "promissory note" was needed to ensure that people of color, specifically African- Americans, have a larger and more substantial role in the formation of America.  The idea is that there was a historical legacy from slavery to the modern time in which the speech was delivered in which the promises and ideals of the Constitution can only be mandated through an equal promise and commitment to the cause of Civil Rights.  In this, Dr. King strikes a Constitutionally historical stance in his speech.


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