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I just started collage and recently had to write a paper on Martin Luther King Jr's speech "I have a dream." While doing this paper I noticed some allusions to other works and was wondering how many you all could find to see if I missed any. I am not sure if this will get any replies but I figured it was worth a try.



( I got a B+ on the paper)
 
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Welcome back, Blues! Big Grin For those of you who don't know Blues, she is Morgan's daughter, the lady whose picture is on our community page.

What a great question!

"This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent..." reference to "Winter of Our Discontent," by Steinbeck.
 
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Kalleh, perhaps it is a reference to Shakespeare, in Richard III, "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York".

"Five score years ago" is obviously an homage to the Gettysburg address. There are many references to the literature of the Founders, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and probably to other similar documents of that period. Obviously, much of the language is biblical, "we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream" is a good example, whether that is referring to parting of the Red Sea, or simply inspiring sermon speak is probably left up to the listener.

What others did you include in your paper?
 
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Wikipedia has an article on the speech which gives allusions and quotations:
quote:
  • First, to Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and The Emancipation Proclamation — "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand [i.e. at his memorial], signed the Emancipation Proclamation."
  • To America's founding documents — "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'"
  • To Amos 5:24 — "We will not be satisfied until 'justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'"
  • To the Declaration of Independence — "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
  • To Isaiah 40:4-5 — "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
  • To the song "My Country 'Tis of Thee" — "this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: 'My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!'"
  • In closing, to "the words of the old Negro spiritual: 'Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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i used Psalm 23, the bill of rights, the consitiution, the declaration of independance, my country tis of thee, the gettysberg address, the emancipation proclamation and, richard the III
 
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quote:
perhaps it is a reference to Shakespeare, in Richard III, "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York".

Of course!

BTW, lest you all think that I had only thought of that one (which was wrong anyway! Roll Eyes), I had also come up with more. However, I wanted some of the rest of you chime in.

Blues, you did very well. I can see why you got the B+. I have always loved that speech. There are very few speeches where you remember lines as well as "I have a dream!" Of course there's always, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!" Wink
 
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This speech is one of those great works of public speaking that always gets me fired up and emotional (which, frankly, was MLKjr's intent, no doubt). He was a truly great man and an amazing speaker.

This reminds me of a story:

I was doing school visits once and walked in on a class that was practicing the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" for the school's end of year assembly. You'd have thought they were singing a funeral durge. I about went ballistic! I abandoned what I was going to talk about, pulled out an illustrated copy of the song (there have been a few picture books using the lyrics) and started up on my soapbox. How could this group of African-American kids not realize the significance of those lyrics? How could kids not realize the amazing power of those words, and the words of MLKjr?

Sigh

Well - I did a little preaching of my own that day, and was happy to see at least a few sparks of intelligence and awareness come to the eyes of the students. Hmph.

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.


*gingerly steps down from her soapbox*


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
How could this group of African-American kids not realize the significance of those lyrics?

I had never heard, nor heard of, this work previously. However, inspiring although the words are, I have to say that the music (from your link) is rather gloomy. Not what one would expect from a piece of this nature. Maybe the children were emulating the style!

Last Saturday was the Last Night of the Proms and that's where we British let our hair down a bit and wallop out our own most jingoistic song, "Land of Hope and Glory". More about the Proms here http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/

Click here http://www.firstworldwar.com/audio/landofhopeandglory.htm to find out more about the song and click on the link for a version sung by Clara Butt in 1911, just before the First World War put an end to so much of what this song is all about.

Amercans who listen to this extract will, when they hear Clara's second verse think, "Hey, this is our Graduation Day tune" And so it is. And how this happened is quite interesting and the story is told here http://www.elgar.org/3pomp-b.htm


Richard English
 
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quote:
I have to say that the music (from your link) is rather gloomy. Not what one would expect from a piece of this nature. Maybe the children were emulating the style!


You know what? I never even realized that, but you're right! I've heard it played like a dirge, now that you mention it, and it does drag a bit . ..

*wanders off to rethink her stance on this song*


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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RE,
Those links were wonderful... thank you so much!
 
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quote:
This speech is one of those great works of public speaking that always gets me fired up and emotional (which, frankly, was MLKjr's intent, no doubt). He was a truly great man and an amazing speaker.

Agreed! That's why when Blues posted this, I went straight to the speech and read every word. I loved reading it again.
 
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