Included in our collection of Classic British and American Essays and Speeches is one of the most famous speeches of the last century: "I Have a Dream," by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Though most Americans are familiar with the last section of the speech, in which Dr. King articulates his dream of freedom and equality, the rest of the speech deserves just as much attention for its social significance and rhetorical power.
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Quiz on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech
- When and where did Dr. King deliver this speech?
(a) in Detroit, Michigan in June 1943, following a weekend of riots
(b) in Montgomery, Alabama in December 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man
(c) in August 1963, at the climax of a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
(d) in Richmond, Virginia in December 1965, on the centennial of the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment
(e) in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968, shortly before he was assassinated
- In the second paragraph of the speech (beginning "Five score years ago . . ."), which extended metaphor does Dr. King introduce?
(a) life as a journey
(b) highs (mountains) and lows (valleys)
(c) life as a dream
(d) light (day) and darkness (night)
(e) life as a daydreamer’s doodles on a sheet of paper
- Parallel to the famous refrain that appears toward the end of his speech (and which serves as its title) is an anaphora in the third paragraph. (An anaphora is the repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses.) Identify this early refrain.
(a) Let freedom ring
(b) One hundred years later
(c) We can never be satisfied
(d) I have a dream
(e) Five score years ago
- In paragraphs four and five, Dr. King uses an analogy to illustrate America’s broken promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to “her citizens of color.” (An analogy is a case of reasoning or arguing from parallel cases.) What is this analogy?
(a) a promissory note--a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds”
(b) a dark empty well with a bottomless bucket tied to a frayed rope
(c) a crossroads in a dark forest
(d) a vast stretch of sand occasionally interrupted by lakes--which prove to be illusions
(e) a recurrent nightmare
- By linking the occasion of his speech to the Emancipation Proclamation and by using biblical language (reminding listeners that he is a minister), King defines his personal authority, thus helping to establish
(a) a new church in Washington, D.C.
(b) his ethos or ethical appeal
(c) a much needed distraction from the more serious parts of the speech
(d) an excuse for giving a lengthy history lesson
(e) a new political party in the United States
- In paragraph nine of the speech (beginning "The marvelous new militancy . . ."), Dr. King says that "many of our white brothers . . . have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom." Define the adverb inextricably.
(a) unable to be excused or pardoned
(b) unable to be separated or untied
(c) unable to be solved or explained
(d) carefully or thoughtfully
(e) painfully or harshly
- In paragraph 11 of the speech (beginning "I am not unmindful . . .), Dr. King addresses those in the audience who have been unjustly imprisoned and who have been "battered by . . . police brutality." What advice does Dr. King offer to these people?
(a) seek revenge for the way you have been mistreated
(b) succumb to despair
(c) return home and continue to work for justice
(d) recruit lawyers and sue your local police departments
(e) pray that God will forgive those who persecuted you
- Toward the end of the speech, in the paragraphs beginning with the now-famous phrase "I have a dream," Dr. King mentions certain members of his own family. Which family members does he refer to?
(a) his mother and father
(b) his sister, Christine, and his brother, Alfred
(c) his grandparents and great-grandparents
(d) his four little children
(e) his wife, Coretta Scott King
- Toward the end of his speech, Dr. King delivers a patriotic appeal by
(a) unfurling an American flag
(b) quoting “My country, ‘tis of thee . . ..”
(c) reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
(d) singing “America, the Beautiful”
(e) leading the audience in a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
- At the end of his speech, Dr. King repeatedly calls out, "Let freedom ring." Which one of the following locations does he not name in this part of the speech?
(a) the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York
(b) Lookout Mountain of Tennessee
(c) the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania
(d) the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado
(e) Stone Mountain of Georgia