District 41 Toastmasters


When I was in my high school, we had a chapter in our English curriculum on the historical speech by Martin Luther King Jr which he had delivered on August 28, 1963 during the march on Washington for equity and justice for African American. After such a long interval those magical lines are still fresh on my mind “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” What a mesmerizing speech it was.

The reason why the historic speech of Martin Luther King Jr. is so captivating is because of the effective use of ETHOS, PATHOS and LOGOS. The Greek philosopher Aristotle had a good technique on how to persuade people. His powerful technique on what he called three appeal designed to help an audience to accept his views or argument are ETHOS (expertise), PATHOS (emotional appeal) and LOGOS (logic).

In addressing the nation Dr. Martin Luther King Jr effectively uses Ethos, Pathos and Logos to convince the audience to take action in demanding racial justice for African-Americans. Let’s analyze the meaning behind ethos, pathos and logos and how he had used it in his speech.

Ethos: Ethos is the expertise of the speaker in the topic and the credibility and trust earned from the audience: Martin Luther King Jr. was an expert on civil rights and was highly respected by the African American community.
“I Have a Dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” depicts the use of ethos.
Pathos: Pathos is the use of emotion to persuade the audience the views of the speaker. Martin Luther King Jr. uses pathos to show how the Negro slaves were suffering injustice in America.
“Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree is a great beacon light of hope it millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But 100 years later the Negro still is not free.” elucidates the use of pathos in his speech.
Logos: Logos is the use of logic or reasoning power to persuade the audience. He uses logos to demonstrate the importance of civil right movement.

“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” demonstrates the use of logos in his speech.
Beside these he also uses symbolism, metaphorical imagery and repetition to create an impact on the audience.

Coming back to my toastmaster journey, I joined Toastmasters club 2 years back with the view to develop my communication, leadership and oratory skill. I was mesmerized by the historic speech of Martin Luther King which has inspired me to be a good orator so to conclude I would say “I STILL HAVE A DREAM…………”

Rabi Shrestha
Lumbini Toastmasters Club