Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the foreground with other people standing attentively in the background

"I Have a Dream" Speech

by Martin Luther King Jr.
Start Free Trial

How does Martin Luther King create rapport with the audience in his "I Have a Dream" speech?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

From the opening sentence of the speech, Dr. King identified himself with the audience as fellow participants in "what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation."  Tracing the history of "the Negro" in the United States, he continued to build...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

From the opening sentence of the speech, Dr. King identified himself with the audience as fellow participants in "what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation."  Tracing the history of "the Negro" in the United States, he continued to build the case that he was one with those listening to his speech. "We have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition."

He went on to present illustrations of the multiple ways in which all those present have been denied the "unalienable rights" that the Declaration of Independence had guaranteed to all. He emphasized that they were all involved in the struggle to right the wrongs of the past and of the present. He effectively used repeated phrasing to build his case, drawing upon experiences from all walks of life and all parts of the country, always coming back to the basic point that their strength was in their unity. "We cannot walk alone."

King masterfully drew upon the speech patterns used historically and effectively by black preachers. He provided a profound phrase that became a summary and a visionary goal for the purpose of his speech in "I have a dream." He established his relationship at the very beginning and expanded his rapport with the audience to the climatic ending of his presentation.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team