Dr. King appeals to logic. Employing the technique of logos he continues, "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." With these words, he appeals to the black population not to sink into violence. The black community has dealt with violence for the entire time that the have been on these shores.
First as slaves, then as freed but poor people, they have been objects of suspicion and mistrust. Though the white society has laid on them responsibility for nearly everything that goes awry in their communities, particularly in the South, Dr. King calls on "his people" to rise above the reactions that anyone could dismiss as being only logical. Degenerating into violence would be "sinking to their level," but Dr. King dares not say those words and his purpose will be diminished if he says the words or even alludes to them. The black community has lived with white hypocrisy for generations, but this is to be a time of healing, and the "eye for an eye" approach is not one conducive to full integration of souls as well as bodies.
The white community has operated in hypocrisy, but Dr. King calls on the black community to provide lessons in how to avoid that hypocrisy. Dr. King also employs the strategy of ethos, defined as a tool communicators use to present themselves as people of good character and valid authority. He said, "I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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. Though Dr. King's black audience would accept his character and authority to speak to them as he did, the white portion of his audience, the larger one that he needed to reach, likely would only see him as a "Negro" who failed to understand the larger picture. Dr. King averts that reaction by invoking the Declaration of Independence, symbolic in itself that he should use it for the black portion of the nation's citizens. His character and authority would be lost on the white audience; that of the Declaration of Independence - written through the combined effort of white men - would not.
Making references to the government as a "Bank of Justice" that gave them a "bad check" King describes the situation of the African American people. He proclaims that the "Bank" is not bankrupt and that it was time to "cash the check." These simple metaphors are easy to understand and are something that the audience can relate to, an appeal to Pathos. Another appeal to Pathos is his repeated reference to how their people have no rights. King is stirring up their emotions, in a sense "firing them up." King gains credibility by talking about a wide variety of beliefs.
He speaks about God, our rights as people, and the rights given to them by the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation. His appeal to Ethos is very strong; King portrays his moral standards to be very high. King diplomatically portrays the ways in which his people have been discriminated against, he is tactful yet aggressive. An example is the listing of all the things he feels discriminate against the Black community such as, the degrading signs that say "for white only", or the oppression of the south. Dr. King employed several tools of persuasion in his speech, certainly more than have been discussed here.
From the speech I learned that Martin Luther King was a brave man for putting his life in jeopardy to give this speech to the American people and attempt to get the racist people to understand that there is not one bit of difference in white or black people, it is what is inside that counts!