Christianity and Martin Luther King's Dream

The nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's dream on August 28.  In 1963, King gave what many communication experts view as the greatest speech of the past 100 years.  Yet despite the speech's popularity, experts continue to miss or diminish one of the more essential characteristics of the speech's success: Christianity. In the 1990s, I attended an academic conference where a communication scholar was presenting about a research question regarding why King so regularly employed the rhetorical form known as the jeremiad.  That particular form of speech is based on the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah; it is a prophetic style of argument that calls an audience toward repentance and reconciliation with God's purpose.  Ultimately, the scholar concluded in a perplexed tone that perhaps King was influenced by political groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).  Eventually a hand came up in the back, and a participant asked the...(Read Full Article)