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The I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King is recognised as oneof the best speeches ever given Here Stevie Edwards looks at what makesit so memorableThere is also YouTube clip of the Martin Luther King SpeechMore than 40 years ago in August 1963 Martin Luther King electrifiedAmerica with his momentous I Have A Dream speech dramaticallydelivered from the steps of the Lincoln MemorialHis soaring rhetoric demanding racial justice and an integrated societybecame a mantra for the black community and is as familiar to subsequentgenerations of Americans as the US Declaration of Independence Hiswords proved to be a touchstone for understanding the social andpolitical upheaval of the time and gave the nation a vocabulary toexpress what was happeningThe key message in the speech is that all people are created equal andalthough not the case in America at the time King felt it must be thecase for the future He argued passionately and powerfullySo what were his compositional strategies and techniquesCertainly Kings speech was well researched In preparation he studiedthe Bible The Gettysburg Address and the US Declaration of Independenceand he alludes to all three in his addressStylistically the speech has been described as a political treatise awork of poetry and a masterfully delivered and improvised sermonbursting with biblical language and imagery As well as rhythm andfrequent repetition alliteration is a hallmark device used to banghome key pointsThe format is simple - always an aid to memorability It falls into twopartsThe first half portrays not an idealised American dream but a picture ofa seething American nightmare of racial injustice It calls for actionin a series of themed paragraphs Now is the time is the firstWe have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierceurgency of now This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling offor to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism Now is the time to makereal the promises of democracy Now is the time to rise
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