Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may have been one of the most influential leaders of his time and maybe even of all time, but it was the way in which he delivered his speeches and who he directed them towards that made him appeal to his listeners. The influence behind King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and his “I Have a Dream Speech” relied directly on his use of the power of rhetoric and the awareness of his audience. The shift of tones throughout these two works of King is what brings about the way in which the audience is directed and who it is directed towards. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King is directly in a non-broadened way addressing clergymen who were putting him to task for the non-violent protests in what they considered to…show more content…
In his “I Have a Dream Speech” he is more so talking to the white majority that has held him and all of the other colored people being segregated against and to the black people that want to make a difference in history and further the civil rights movement and get the rights they deserve. Once he has his target audience engaged, much like in the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” his language becomes very simple and direct again. The difference is, he is now urging direct action . His tone becomes more “preacher like” as he says “Go back to Mississippi: Go back to Alabama: Go back to South Carolina: Go back to Georgia: Go back to Louisiana: Go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair”(King) His assumptions of the basis of American society (religion, founding fathers, and the American Dream) enable him to keep his intended audience paying attention for what he most wanted to convey—the emotional battle of those involved in the campaign for civil rights. Although his letter and his speech are targeting two separate ideas on the basis of two separate (for the most part) groups of…show more content…
He establishes this goal of his in both his “I Have a Dream” speech and his “Letter From Birmingham Jail”. These two works of his tell about the struggles he and other colored people faced in their everyday lives just to make it through the day. The way he goes about informing his audiences is through rhetorical and authoritative strategies. He is trying to get through to multiple groups of individuals within these two works but he is initially trying to convey the same ideas. The way in which Dr. King did so will leave an imprint on American history
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