Summarizing "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King.  I understand that this speech is about acceptance to black people, and civil rights...but there is something I just can't seem to grasp...I...

Summarizing "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King.


I understand that this speech is about acceptance to black people, and civil rights...but there is something I just can't seem to grasp...I feel Im missing a big part, while trying to summarize it. I need to summarize it in paragraph form, and I have allready done so- In three sentences. Any idea's on what more to include/add that are main points?

Expert Answers
lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dr. King's most famous speech draws heavily on his theological education and his superior command of the art of rhetoric.  The speech was given in front of the Lincoln Memorial, not coincidentally, and King begins by alluding to Lincoln, the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the rebellious Southern states.  From there, he moves on to the metaphor of the "check" of freedom, and extends it by stating that the check has been returned due to insufficient funds.  He discusses the civil rights movement that has brought him, and the enormous listening crowd, to this point, and as the speech approaches its conclusion, he increasingly speaks with the fervor and intonation of the engaging preacher that he was, using the repetition of phrases such as "We will not be satisfied" and "I have a dream," and "Let freedom ring," to emphasize his ideas and create a swelling wave of emotion in the audience.   A paraphrasing of, and then direct quotation from a passage from the book of Isaiah reminds us again of King's religious training, as well as the idea that freedom is not an American dream, but a human right. 

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

King's final lines allude to a Negro spiritual as he comes back to his introductory idea, that although blacks were freed of slavery in 1865, they have not actually ever been a free people.



gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To summarize this great speech in three lines, compress the different sections into key points. The first few paragraphs say, essentially, Abraham Lincoln promised everyone in the United States freedom and equality, but African Americans still aren't free or equal. The middle paragraphs say, essentially, we're here to demand that equality and freedom. The later paragraphs describe the nature of that dream and what it will cost: they say that those demanding freedom will have to be ethical about it, but the result will be a world of unity among all races, everywhere in the land.

kaceyprincess35 | Student
The I have a dream speech could be summarized in many ways.
Read the study guide:
"I Have a Dream" speech

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question