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Part 3: Visionary Language – MLK Speech

Part 3: Visionary Language - MLK Speech
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Now you watched Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society. So you had both the what he’s saying, as well as how he’s saying it. What I’d like to do now is shift to a different example, where you see just the text, the transcript of what someone is saying. And one of the best examples that I have of this, is Martin Luther King Jr. In the 1960s gave what is now a very famous speech, his I Have a Dream speech. The historical context is really around the civil rights movement in the United States, where you had, at the time, the minority population, mostly the African American community, vying for equal rights in the United States. And Martin Luther King Jr.
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was one of the primary leaders behind the Civil Rights Movement. One of the best orators, communicators, in history, of any time really. But what’s really powerful when you look at the speech he gave that day is not only how he said it, but what he said. And so what I’d like you to do is, online you have access to the transcript of his speech that day. I’d like for you to use the checklist that I gave you, and analyze that transcript for each element of the checklist, from referring to fundamental values. You’ll note, for example, that Martin Luther King Jr. doesn’t refer necessarily to the values of the minority.
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The question I have for you is, what values does he refer to and why? You will see him repeat I have a dream. You’ll see him repeat some of the key phrases. You’ll see him use other rhetorical devices and communication devices. And the moral conviction that he uses to talk about why this is so important. Use the checklist, analyze the transcript, and see how you might use some of those same vehicles, some of those same communication devices. Not only in how you communicate, but when you’re crafting a message that you want to share with your audience who you’re trying to compel and motivate. To get behind this vision, really to inspire them to want to support your vision.
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So, analysis that speech and then we’ll pick back up.
Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream…” Speech

Please read and analyze Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream…” speech.

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