Racial segregation along with social equality has been of the many issues in the United States since the nation was formed. Unlike most other issues in this country, segregation was dealt with to an extent but eventually came to a complete halt. Blacks were still being treated unequally in the United States, forced to abide by unreasonable rules or would face cruel punishment. These rules were present in nearly every public facility, sidewalk, buses, and even bathrooms.
Although every person of the white race did not agree with the use of segregation, no one had the courage to stand up and convince the people of the United States that the way they are treating the African Americans was wrong. The Negroes of this time felt as if there was not any hope of being completely free until a brave and intelligent man stood up in front of thousands of people on August 28, 1963 in Washington D. C. Martin Luther King Jr. pens the eyes of many Americans with his words of wisdom in his I Have a Dream speech, explaining how the Negroes of America are being treated and what is about to happen to give the Negroes the freedom they have been promised. His persuasion and direct demand of their freedom will make the people of the United States change their ways or severe consequences will come. One hundred years before King addressed his I have a dream speech, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, meant to gradually free all slaves of the territories who were still in rebellion against the Union.
Along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation was written to allow all people of the United States to be free. King mentions in the first few paragraphs of his speech that the Declaration of Independence was a “promissory note” to every American guaranteeing their “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ” Explaining that the government’s promise still has not been fulfilled, proven by the African Americans’ lack of complete freedom. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned”, “America has given the Negro people a bad check. ” The Negroes of America were still living through the hardships of segregation and discrimination, which were promised, in several federal documents, abolishment over one hundred years before. King tells the country that he demands the rights of freedom and until all of the Negroes of the United States receive their rights they deserve, they will never give up.
He explains that the reason that they do not have freedom is because the government and the people of the United States have convinced the African American population that they will eventually receive their rights, without any intentions of taking action to do so. If they do not receive their rights soon, he promised that there would be a revolution until all people of the United States are free.
King automatically draws respect by saying “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. ” Honoring the people of the white race who were attending the speech and expressing that every individuals’ future depends on their freedom.
He also receives respect by telling the people not to revolt through violence while trying to obtain their rights of freedom, seeking revenge would only hurt our population and the nation, as a whole. Being aggressive could endanger the possibility of ever receiving complete freedom for the Negro population. In the speech, King never talked down on the white Americans for their acts. Instead, he explains what the white race had done to require him to stand in front of America that day.
He also expressed how he looked forward to the “brotherhood” and friendship with every white American in the near future, making the people realize he does not want any superiority over the white race, only to be considered equal as them. At this point in the speech, he begins to explain how much he would appreciate life as a free American and how he will enjoy the right to do as he may wish. To be able to work to, not only, make him successful but to create a more successful nation as a whole. “Nine sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. King brings about persuasion towards every race with this point in the speech. Meaning that it will be an end to segregation, but more importantly a beginning to a powerful and successful nation. The black population being free will bring greater technologies, work ethics, and complete unionization. With the country in complete unity it automatically causes it to be stronger as a whole. His persuasion to the black population comes greatly towards the end of the speech. He tells everyone that the “situation can and will be changed. By being so straightforward and ensuring, it gives confidence and motivation to the people who are trying to fix this situation to stand up for themselves and demand what they deserve. This statement also tells the people who are treating the Negroes badly that they have no other choice but to give the blacks their guaranteed rights or there will be an uncontrollable and never ending revolution. The never-ending revolution could jeopardize the function of the country and cause social and economic chaos throughout.
King concludes his speech with the famous I have a dream phrases and songs. In the phrases he tells about how peaceful and enjoyable complete freedom will be and how he dreams that one day soon he will see interracial friendships of brotherhood between children and adults of this country. Being able to work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, and stand up for freedom together will bring many great effects on the nation and the people.
Being “free at last” will make the world a better place and will gradually make this country the strongest in the world economically and socially. Martin Luther King Jr. ’s speech was so convincing because of his straightforwardness about what will be done to receive the rights that the African Americans were promised. Although most of the white race had knowledge of how they were treating the blacks, King opened their eyes by making them realize that they Constitutionally deserve the same rights as the white population.
King was respectful throughout the speech, which most likely helped the people understand and accept the reason for his speech. Although African Americans still did not receive their rights immediately after this speech, the speech had an incredible impact on the future of the African Americans and the future of this nation. Great risks came with King’s speech but he was willing to take those risks to create a better future for the lives of many Americans.