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I Have A Dream - étude de document

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"This document is a speech called "I have a dream", pronounced by Martin Luther King on the 28th of August 1963. This speech was given during the Civil Rights March, in Washington DC, at the Lincoln Memorial.

Martin Luther King was an African American activist and a clergyman. He was born on the 15th of January 1929, in Atlanta and he was assassinated on the 4th of April 1968 in Memphis.

II- Historical background

" In the 1950s, many southern states in the USA, were segregated, like in Georgia. For example, black children were not allowed to go to the same schools as Whites. In buses, Blacks had to sit down in the back, whereas Whites sat in the front.

MLK was directing the SCLC Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957) which did not agree with segregation and he fought for equality between black and white people.

There were more than 200,000 people who were walking together against racial discrimination and defense of the civil rights of black people

III - The purpose

- The title of is speech "I have a dream“ will recall the notion of the American dream of the immigrants. The speech will talk about equality and brotherhood. it reminds the Americans that they are a nation and all of its people must have the same rights.

- In this speech, MLK dreams that one day black people would be equal to white people in America and enjoy freedom and justice as all Americans do.

IV - Structure of the text

Part one up to line 22 : MLK denounces the past and the present conditions o blacks

- The title alludes to the American dream

- Line 7 is an extract of American Declaration of Independence

Part 2 from line 23 to the end : he has a vision of their future

- Freedom if the key word in this part

- The keyword from lines 24 o 28 showing that King's optimism is based on his religious beliefs , on his “faith“

- MLK takes his image from the Bible because he is a pastor used to religious reference. he also uses images of nature as Blacks who listen to him have traditionally a country background. Nature is also frequent in the Bible, it is the creation of God

- The names of religions alluded to are Judaism, Protestantism and catholicism as they represent the main religions in the US at the time of the speech, black people being predominantly protestants

V - Personal judgment/ opinion

I like this speech because MLK wants to struggle against segregation and I agree with this. Moreover this speech is a message for equality between black and white people.


To conclude, MLK managed to send a message of hope and peace since black people got the right to vote in 1965.


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