Dr. Martin Luther King’s Speech “I Have a Dream”


Dr. Martin Luther King’s legendary “I have a dream” speech was spontaneous, from the heart since he had not made any prior preparations concerning on how he would address the crowd, he spoke with passion and raw emotion, using clearly constructed imagery, symbolism and spiritual connotation making his speech a poetic masterpiece that is to date considered highly artistic.


Obstacles face by Dr Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther king knew that many people would be in attendance, while others on radio and television would be glued on their radio and television sets, he felt pressured to deliver the best speech that would lead to the liberation of the black people from widespread discrimination and alienation of the then regime. Dr. Martin Luther King had not prepared for deliver his speech as he did therefore when he decided to deviate from his speech and decided to speak from the heart extemporizing the dream section of his speech he was not sure that he would effectively communicate with the crowd of over 200,000 people. Lack of preparation was an obstacle that would have hindered effective communication but Dr. Martin Luther king decided to use his wide reserves of public speaking expertise to unify and vitalize various aspects of the message that was part of his legendary speech.

Strategies used by Dr Martin Luther King and why they were likely to be successful

Proper lack of preparation was an obstacle for Martin Luther king during the delivery of his speech that would have affected the quality of his speech but he did not let this interrupt his main message of calling for racial harmony, peaceful coexistence, justice and equality. Martin Luther King therefore decided to pursue a familiar subject “I have a dream” that he had used many times before. When Martin Luther King decided to use this familiar subject the chances of success despite not preparing properly during the delivery of this speech increased tremendously because Dr. King had a high degree of confidence enabling him speak with buoyancy and clarity with a word count of up to 145 words per minute. If Dr. King chose an unfamiliar subject his legendary speech “I have a dream” would likely not have been successful as it was. The use of a familiar subject made it possible Dr.King communicate, effectively with the audience without stumbling over his words.

Secondly Martin Luther king decided to incorporate the use of metaphors, imagery, symbolism and spiritual connotation to overcome this obstacle. Dr. Martin Luther King was a very educated being a Baptist minister therefore a regular public speaker familiar with the use of Imagery, symbolism and other public speaking techniques such as repetition. Moreover the use of repetition enabled Dr. King to emphasis the subject of his speech by making the speech highly emotional and captivating, repetition also enabled Dr. King to gain ground and chose words for his speech more carefully contributing to the poetic nature of his speech.


Despite having not prepared properly for the speech Dr. Martin Luther king decided to use a particular style of speaking to ensure that he would deliver his speech effectively and efficiently. The use of symbolism, repetition and a familiar subject contributed to success of the Dr King’s speech because by enabling him to make common rhetorical references and compare then to the politics, racism and injustice in America.