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Origins of the DreamHughes's Poetry and King's Rhetoric$
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W. Jason Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060446

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060446.001.0001

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“The Psalm of Brotherhood”

“The Psalm of Brotherhood”

King at Detroit’s March for Jobs

(p.176) 9 “The Psalm of Brotherhood”
Origins of the Dream

W. Jason Miller

University Press of Florida

This chapter offers a detailed reading of the dream King presented in Detroit on June 23, 1963, to demonstrate that King’s dream that day was literally presented in the form of a poem. This “Psalm of Brotherhood” uses elements of chiasmus, parallelism, alliteration, and off rhyme to communicate as true poetry. Immediately after King ended this “Psalm,” he coalesces ideas about dreams by alluding to the biblical book of Daniel and the secular poetry of Langston Hughes. The speech as a whole is contextualized by recounting conditions in Detroit, examining the influence of William Ruether, and analyzing remarks made by John F. Kennedy that King himself alludes to in his speech.

Keywords:   alliteration, chiasmus, Book of Daniel, John F. Kennedy, off rhyme, parallelism, “Psalm of Brotherhood”, William Ruether

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