Analyzing a Speech: “I have a dream.”

Last Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and those of us in the profession or oratory or the pursuit of oratorical perfection know by no stretch of an imagination that the Reverend had a voice of a Prophet and an eloquence that words cannot describe. The icon of Dr. King is one of a powerful speaker that changed the shape of history in his leadership of the Civil Rights movement in America in the middle of the 20th century.

King at the Lincoln Memorial

I personally admire the man’s ability to communicate and lead and although I could spend hours analyzing his speeches alone, I will give that responsibility to one who is better at it and one who has already done a good job of it.  Thanks to the Internet, I was able to find Andrew Dlugan who is the editor and founder of the Six Minutes blog on Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. He took the time last year around this time to publish a comprehensive analysis of the “I have a dream” speech. Dlugan not only suggests a method of conducting one’s own analysis, but slices and cuts the speech in various ways to show the patterns which make “I have a dream” a memorable speech to have heard in front of the Lincoln Memorial.


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