Martin Luther King Jr: Appeal to American Patriotism

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The civil rights movement was a struggle for African Americans to have equal rights in the 50s and 60s. Many important events happened during this movement, and many important figures arose as well. One of these figures was Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist that was known for his great leadership. He was a powerful influencer and supporter of nonviolent actions to reach his goal. There were many different ways King appealed to American patriotism, and some of these are shown in his “I Have a Dream” speech and his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”.

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was very memorable for bringing great attention to the Civil Rights Movement with its theme of patriotism. One example of this patriotism is in the line, “the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” King references these documents to not only show his own patriotism, but also remind everyone of what the country they’re supporting stands for. All men are created equal, and yet colored people are being treated differently just because of the color of their skin. By bringing this to attention, King is urging people to stand for their country by speaking out against the injustice going on. King also appeals to American’s patriotism by bringing up the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to slaves. King is reminding everyone of the freedom they should have, and how they shouldn’t be satisfied until they get that freedom. He also gives many examples of the lack of freedom they have, such as: “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” Both of these examples from his speech, and many more, show how King appealed to American patriotism.

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