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CPHS_English 9 - Speech Research: Example of Outline


Outline Example

Name: Ms. Wilson

Hour: 1

Title of Speech and Author: “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.


I.                 Intro:

  1. Introductory Statement: The speech “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. was delivered on August 28th, 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Washington Monument.

  2. Context: 1-2 sentences about the Civil Rights Movement, life in the 1960s in the US, etc.

  3. Thesis: This speech was a defining moment for the American Civil Rights Movement, which called for civil and economic rights for all people in the United States, regardless of race. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech is considered to be one of the greatest speeches in history because of its inspiring diction, masterful rhetoric, and influential and credible speaker.

II.               Historical Context

A.    First Source: Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Its Sources by Keith D. Miller

Summary: In this article, Miller discusses the intense imagery displayed by King’s choice of diction during his “I Have a Dream” speech, explaining that it is one of the main reasons why this speech is so memorable.

Important quote or paraphrasing: According to Miller, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s usage of rhetoric, specifically pathos, connects him to his audience in a powerful way unlike any other speaker in Black history.”

B.   Second Source:"Martin Luther King, Jr.: Black Theology--Black Church" by James Cone


Important quote or paraphrasing: In this article, Cone states…. (quotes/paraphrasing)

C.    Overall: Historically speaking, both sources reiterate the different aspects of the civil rights movement and the state of social justice and civil unrest during the time Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered. Both sources express… (insert specific details here).

III.             Professional Critiques

A.   First Source: "Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream': The Speech Event as Metaphor" by Alexandra Alvarez


Important quote or paraphrasing: In this article, Alvarez states…. (quotes/paraphrasing)

B.    Second Source: "Black Rhetoric: An Example of the Poverty of Values" by Robert Heath


Important quote or paraphrasing: In this article, Heath states… (quotes/paraphrasing)

C.    Overall: In their articles, both authors share their analysis of the rhetoric in King, Jr.’s speech, including ethos and pathos. They specifically comment on… (insert details here). Alvarez and Heath agree that the formal elements of the speech helped create its incredible impact, and believe “I Have a Dream” is a well-written piece of language.

IV.            Personal Critique

A.   Personal Opinion: I have read and studied this speech many times, but each time I hear it or read it I recognize something brand new and inspiring about it. In my opinion, Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech is timeless and everyone should experience his message at least once throughout his or her life because it is a crucial piece in the history of the United States and Civil Rights Movement. I believe this speech has earned all of the prestige it has, and the message is still important for everyone to hear decades later.

V.              Conclusion

A.    Final Thought: Due to the impeccable timing of this speech, the language used by King, Jr., and the need for the message to fall on the ears of the entire nation in 1963, “I Have a Dream” is a powerful piece of rhetoric and will be revered for generations to come.


Works Cited Example (APA format):

King, Martin L., Jr. "I Have a Dream." Speech. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D. C. 28 Aug. 1963.