In Professional Communication and Presentation, we devote a class to studying the rhetorical strategies Martin Luther King uses in his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech, but it’s also important to recognize that while the speech is well constructed, what creates true impact is the shared vision Dr. King so eloquently expressed to all Americans. King’s speech was not about racial equality and justice–to him these were givens that our country had the potential and responsibility to live up to–King’s speech was about the dream of all citizens working together to further the cause of creating a thriving future for our children and grandchildren.
I’ve been working on the following infographic for several months now and still have several more weeks of design before it is complete, but considering King’s vision has helped me push past a creative block I’ve been dealing with.
Because my focus is on emphasizing the rhetorical mastery of the speech (and it’s definitely masterful), I’ve been missing the words and visuals to truly communicate the impact of this speech on the American psyche. The bottom third of the infographic will include rhetorical analysis, but I plan on devoting the majority of that design space to translating and communicating the lasting effects of Dr. King’s work as embodied by this speech. As Americans, we have a responsibility to “work together, to pray together, to struggle together…to stand up for freedom together” (Source). It’s this legacy of unified service that we must remember just as much as the way the idea was communicated.
Today is MLK Day also known as the MLK Day of Service. There’s no better way to commemorate one of our greatest humans than by honoring his legacy through service. Make a commitment to serving someone other than yourself today, whether it’s through an act or an encouraging word.