The one that prevailed then, and will continue

The speech that Dr. Martin Luther King gives on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is a timeless speech. Its message is one that prevailed then, and will continue to prevail in the future. The passion that dripped off each word is why the speech will forever have an impact on those who hear it. The blend of hopefulness and despair in Dr. King’s words give the speech a sense of urgency that similar writing did not hold. Dr. King also was very smart in using literary devices to his advantage. The use of repetition found throughout the speech helps provide an emphasis on what he expects for the future of his colored brothers and sisters. He recognizes the grand injustice that the United States has condemned on those who were not white, and his approach to combat the injustice was not only commendable but inspirational.  Dr. King had all the qualities that make a good leader and they are exemplified throughout his speech. He preaches to his followers that violence cannot be the answer, and they should not resort to it. He promotes a movement of peace, filled with peaceful protests, and a fight that is neither vindictive or hateful, but filled with love and hopefulness. He leads the cause with a desire for all man, white and black, to embrace one another in unity. It is astonishing to think that someone who has been oppressed and belittled countless of times, would want nothing else than to be united in a world of peace with those who made him feel so small. Many people like to say that Dr. King was the most important piece when it came to the fights for civil rights, but I would say that “fight” is the incorrect word. It was a struggle. A struggle to overcome the invisible barriers set in front of colored Americans.  True to the title of his speech, Dr. King’s discourse is optimistic and hopeful. He molded the speech in such a way that every issue he discussed was countered with a promise. He recalls the sorrows of those who lived in slavery and discusses the ongoing oppression his people face, but juxtaposes it with an appeal to his followers to overcome the oppression and strive to be better than those who oppress them. Dr, King states “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force” These words were filled with power and desire to make the movement overcome all the stereotypes the rest of society had given them. A big part of this motivation and power came not only by how eloquently the speech was written but by the energy and sincerity it was spoken with.  Had this speech been given by anyone else it would not have held the same impact. It needed to be given by someone who not only believed in the cause full-heartedly, but was willing to take the hardest route possible to achieve the movements overall goals. Dr. King was charismatic, but loyal. He lit a fire in his follower’s hearts that was nearly impossible to dim. And that fire cannot be lit by just anyone. The type of following that he had is only seen with certain figureheads, and usually, it is not used for good purposes. Dr. King embodied exactly what his speech was about. He was the personification of hopefulness and peace and that was what his followers needed to see. When someone is attacked, whether it be physically or emotionally, their instincts are to fight back. But Dr. King told them all to fight that instinct. They needed to reach their goals through peace, and only Dr. King could have pushed his followers to do that.  Had Malcolm X delivered this speech, those followers would not have taken his word to heart because he did not personify the ideas that were talked about in the speech.  What really gets under my skin is that now, in 2018, we still see the racial injustice Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was speaking about. With our current government in place, those who are not white still have to jump through these invisible barriers that were put in front of Dr. King’s followers. Though it has a different face, racism is still very prevalent in our society today. “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”.” It wasn’t too long ago when Trayvon Martin was shot just walking home from school. It wasn’t too long ago when Sandra Bland was incarcerated for a speeding ticket, that ultimately resulted in a ruled out suicide. And it wasn’t too long ago when Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was choked to death. The injustice that Dr. King spoke about is seen in these deaths along with many more. Luckily, kids who are minorities have more opportunities to succeed now than they did before, but in comparison to their white counterparts, it is still minuscule.  Although we no longer have “whites only schools” we still have impoverished “Title I Public Schools” where the demographics are mostly minority students with hand me down textbooks and barely any funding’s for better equipment. This is the new face of racial injustice.  As powerful as the “I Had A Dream” Speech is, our society still has a lot to learn from it. Year after year racism and discrimination morph into a new face, a new persona. And we as a society started slowly slipping back into our old ways. But I hope and dream. Just like Dr. King did, that there will come a day where mankind regardless of: race, religion, ethnicity, or any other difference can join together hand in hand and live in peace. 


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