On Aug. 28, 1963, civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history. His "I Have a Dream" speech was intended to inspire the 200,000 people at the Washington, D.C., rally and beyond to consider a world in which black and white children could learn and grow together. The message served as a driving force in motivating political leaders and citizen activists to push for greater equality and an end to segregation.
Mood is a literary device used to cause readers to experience certain emotions. It also established a particular tone of voice. In the "I Have a Dream Speech," the mood was clearly inspiring, forward-looking and bold. King wanted to stir the hearts of those holding on to the notion that freedom and equality in the United States could exist even with segregation.
The opening statement in King's speech established the tone, as he prophetically said, "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." Later in the speech he talked about overcoming obstacles when he stated, "I say to you today, my friends ... even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream."
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