Notes from Dr. King's speech:
Pay close attention to the references and metaphors he employs. His use of language is incredibly rich, no term or phrase is included accidentally!
1963, the speech is delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. This is important! Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which officially made the practice of slavery illegal in the country. The first few lines of the speech, 'five score years ago' reference the first few lines of the Gettysberg Address (1863), the most famous speech given by Lincoln (score=multiple of 5). Consider the location and historical moment of the ...view middle of the document...
We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”
What is the debt? --- the creed of the United States, from Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (1776).
This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The Declaration of Independence opens with the following lines--
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
**Consider why Dr. King uses the metaphor of a bad check, rather than a simple non-payment. How are those two things (a false payment v. a non-payment) different? Is there a notion of bad...