What is the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech?

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From almost all accounts, when King gave his "I Have a Dream" stump speech (he had delivered it before) to the crowds on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1963, this was a particularly powerful and riveting event in the civil rights movement. King outdid himself in his delivery, electrifying an audience composed of both blacks and whites. It was one of those occasions where the message and the moment meshed magnificently.

Beyond that, the speech itself is a masterwork of rhetoric or persuasion. King convincingly pounds home his point that blacks can no longer be "patient" and wait for justice. They have waited, he says, a hundred years, always with the promise that if they wait a little longer, their day will come. King declares that day is now, and that there is no reason to delay any longer. He speaks of the "fierce urgency of now."

Further, he appeals to whites as well as blacks in this speech, knowing that blacks are a minority and that he needs white support. He addresses to white...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 632 words.)

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