Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”  But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
 But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.
Much of the greatness of this speech is tied to its historical context, a topic which goes beyond the scope of this article.
Instead, I’ll focus on five key lessons in speechwriting that we can extract from Martin Luther King’s most famous speech.
“” is repeated in eight successive sentences, and is one of the most often cited examples of anaphora in modern rhetoric.
But this is just one of eight occurrences of anaphora in this speech.
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
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.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.
Consider the allusions used by Martin Luther King Jr.: Your speech is greatly improved when you provide specific examples which illustrate your logical (and perhaps theoretical) arguments. accomplishes this is to make numerous geographic references throughout the speech: Note that Mississippi is mentioned on four separate occasions.
This is not accidental; mentioning Mississippi would evoke some of the strongest emotions and images for his audience.